astrology

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

Re: astrology

Postby MagsJ » Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:37 am

_
..as we now approach that time in the moon’s phase again..
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 4&t=196656 ; )
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: astrology

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:08 am

MagsJ wrote:_
..as we now approach that time in the moon’s phase again..
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 4&t=196656 ; )


On the other hand...

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... full-moon/

Water at Work?

Following Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, some contemporary authors, such as Miami psychiatrist Arnold Lieber, have conjectured that the full moon’s supposed effects on behavior arise from its influence on water. The human body, after all, is about 80 percent water, so perhaps the moon works its mischievous magic by somehow disrupting the alignment of water molecules in the nervous system.

But there are at least three reasons why this explanation doesn’t “hold water,” pardon the pun. First, the gravitational effects of the moon are far too minuscule to generate any meaningful effects on brain activity, let alone behavior. As the late astronomer George Abell of the University of California, Los Angeles, noted, a mosquito sitting on our arm exerts a more powerful gravitational pull on us than the moon does. Yet to the best of our knowledge, there have been no reports of a “mosquito lunacy effect.” Second, the moon’s gravitational force affects only open bodies of water, such as oceans and lakes, but not contained sources of water, such as the human brain. Third, the gravitational effect of the moon is just as potent during new moons—when the moon is invisible to us—as it is during full moons.

There is a more serious problem for fervent believers in the lunar lunacy effect: no evidence that it exists. Florida International University psychologist James Rotton, Colorado State University astronomer Roger Culver and University of Saskatchewan psychologist Ivan W. Kelly have searched far and wide for any consistent behavioral effects of the full moon. In all cases, they have come up empty-handed. By combining the results of multiple studies and treating them as though they were one huge study—a statistical procedure called meta-analysis—they have found that full moons are entirely unrelated to a host of events, including crimes, suicides, psychiatric problems and crisis center calls. In their 1985 review of 37 studies entitled “Much Ado about the Full Moon,” which appeared in one of psychology’s premier journals, Psychological Bulletin, Rotton and Kelly humorously bid adieu to the full-moon effect and concluded that further research on it was unnecessary.

Persistent critics have disagreed with this conclusion, pointing to a few positive findings that emerge in scattered studies. Still, even the handful of research claims that seem to support full-moon effects have collapsed on closer investigation. In one study published in 1982 an author team reported that traffic accidents were more frequent on full-moon nights than on other nights. Yet a fatal flaw marred these findings: in the period under consideration, full moons were more common on weekends, when more people drive. When the authors reanalyzed their data to eliminate this confounding factor, the lunar effect vanished.


Of course Donald Trump was always warning us about those science guys.

On the other hand, Saturn is a lot bigger than the Moon.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: astrology

Postby Atla » Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:59 am

Hello forum, here's something to consider. One of my hobbies used to be figuring out the secret behind Astrology, it's a fun intellectual exercise, and is slightly relevant to the philosophy of human consciousness (it says something about the inescapability of the human brain / human mind identity, which is consistent with my nondualist philosophy).

From what I've seen, there are generally two kinds of people, the irrational ones who beleve in all those charts and our fate being written in the stars, and are incapable of critically examining their beliefs. And the irrational ones who are fairly convinced that there's nothing to Astrology, consider themselves to be rational, and adopt this smarter-than-thou attitude. Very little middle ground between the two camps, imo it's a good indicator of how most people can't think outside the box.

It's pretty simple, Astrology has been around for thousands of years and still won't go away, because it also has to do with a very mundane yearly cycle of nature, it has to do with seasonal biology. During gestation and shortly after birth, as the human brain is forming, it's fairly susceptible to whatever conditions are typical for the seasons. The amount of sunlight, the temperatures, the human body's hormonal reactions to all the conditions etc. Depending on which roughly 12 months were the first 12 months of our lives including gestation, slight variances get hard-wired into our brains and remain permanently. Even as adult we can slightly experience the influences of the seasons on us if we pay attention, apparently the newborn brain is that much more sensible to them.

This doesn't work at the Equator though, it's mostly a thing in places with 4 rather different seasons, and a great variance in the amount of sunlight. That's why Astrology is such a big thing in Europe, the US and China. Remember humans migrated from Africa, evolved under pretty much constant summer for millions of years before that, so this whole seasons business is still somewhat alien to our physiology. Now I may be wrong on this one, but from I've seen, this seasonal biology affects Afro-Americans even more, which is obviously because they just recently got moved to a place with 4 seasons.

So yes, the date of birth does matter. This is a great taboo of course in a culture where we pretend that everyone is equal psychologically. I think there were some statistical studies that shoved that the birthday does correlate with things like career choices and suceptibility to various health issues, but they didn't dare to investigate beyond that.

The arbitrary 12 Sun signs are a reflection of this yearly cycle. People born in the middle of a Sun sign are more likely to have typical traits of that sign. People born on cusps are a mixture of the two signs. The rest of Astrology: the other kinds of signs like rising signs for example, the planets, the elements, the charts, the fate etc. are all nonsense, but as long as we base them on the Sun signs, there will always be a grain of truth to them.

This is the start of the investigation into the 'real' Astrology. It gets somewhat complicated beyond this, over the years I seem to have discovered a hidden double-pattern: we get two major influences hardwired at 6 months (I guess when the brain more or less gets finalized) and at 9 months (at birth), the other influences appear to be much lesser than this. Trying to find the exact mechanisms how the various Sun signs are created is pretty fun, I think I've identified some of the seasonal influences by now, won't go into detail. It's all pretty muddy and uncertain.

This kind of psychological knowledge is unbeliavably useful in everyday life though, it helps understand the odd behaviours of so many people, where most others just scratch their heads. It works at a more basic level than for example the MBTI, but one can combine them. I can also guess someone's Sun sign with like 30% accuracy where random chance should be some 8-10%.
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Re: astrology

Postby Gloominary » Wed Jan 27, 2021 2:00 am

A lot of people who get into astrology tho don't take it that seriously, they just have fun with it, I wouldn't call those people objectivists, they think it's pretty, or entirely subjective.
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Re: astrology

Postby MagsJ » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:36 pm

_
The Smartest Zodiac Sign

Whether you’re an authoritative Aries or a caring Cancer, every zodiac sign has its attractive traits. These astrological measurements can even predict everything from your romantic compatibility to your health. But when it comes to intelligence, which sign has the most brains?

The smartest zodiac sign is actually a tie between Aquarius and Scorpio, astrologists say—but they share the top spot for two very different reasons. Those born under the Aquarius sign have the highest levels of analytical intelligence, which is measured by cognitive ability and IQ. Scorpios, on the other hand, have more perceptive smarts; they are best at realistically assessing and understanding the world at large.

That’s not to say that other zodiac signs aren’t intelligent in their own ways. In fact, Geminis and Libras have plenty of mental smarts too, according to Neil Crabtree, an astrologist at the Mayo School of Astrology. Cancer and Pisces are the most emotionally intelligent; in other words, they are excel at recognizing and reasoning with their own and others’ feelings.

On the other hand, the earth signs—Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn—demonstrate practical intelligence. And the fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) tend to be the most intuitive, making them more inclined to take risks and fill leadership positions.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: astrology

Postby Ecmandu » Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:44 pm

I’m Sagittarius born in the Chinese year of the red dragon.

Whatever the fuck that means.
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Re: astrology

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:23 pm

MagsJ wrote:_
The Smartest Zodiac Sign

Whether you’re an authoritative Aries or a caring Cancer, every zodiac sign has its attractive traits. These astrological measurements can even predict everything from your romantic compatibility to your health. But when it comes to intelligence, which sign has the most brains?

The smartest zodiac sign is actually a tie between Aquarius and Scorpio, astrologists say—but they share the top spot for two very different reasons. Those born under the Aquarius sign have the highest levels of analytical intelligence, which is measured by cognitive ability and IQ. Scorpios, on the other hand, have more perceptive smarts; they are best at realistically assessing and understanding the world at large.

That’s not to say that other zodiac signs aren’t intelligent in their own ways. In fact, Geminis and Libras have plenty of mental smarts too, according to Neil Crabtree, an astrologist at the Mayo School of Astrology. Cancer and Pisces are the most emotionally intelligent; in other words, they are excel at recognizing and reasoning with their own and others’ feelings.

On the other hand, the earth signs—Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn—demonstrate practical intelligence. And the fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) tend to be the most intuitive, making them more inclined to take risks and fill leadership positions.


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

No, seriously.

Just Google "how dumb is astrology": https://www.google.com/search?source=hp ... gle+Search
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: astrology

Postby iambiguous » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:02 pm

Paul Feyerabend’s defense of astrology
From the Footnotes to Plato website

The latest opportunity for [re-evaluating] Feyerabend was an offer by the editor of the journal Social Epistemology to join their Review & Reply Collective and initiate a back-and-forth exchange with author Ian Kidd, who has published a paper for the journal entitled “Why Did Feyerabend Defend Astrology? Integrity, Virtue, and the Authority of Science.”

Of all things, one would think that astrology is, in fact, indefensible. (Should you have any doubt, I warmly encourage you to read this and follow up on several of the links therein.) And in fact, Kidd, argues, Feyerabend was perfectly aware that astrology is indefensible. Why then go on to write a panegyric about it?


Whether astrology is defensible or not, let those here who do defend it, bring their defense of it around to my own interests in philosophy: morality here and now, immortality there and then.

If you believe in astrology [in whatever manner] how do you demonstrate that what you believe about it plays out in your interactions with others given contexts in which your own value judgments are challenged by them. And how is astrology as you understand it pertinent to the arguments I make in regard to the human self as the embodiment of dasein explored on this thread: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=176529

Because Feyerabend was disturbed by what he saw as a dogmatic “manifesto” against astrology, put out by Paul Kurtz (the founder, among other things, of what was once known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, or CSICOP) and co-signed — seemingly mindlessly — by a number of scientists who lent their credibility to it...


Sure, one can be dogmatic in holding astrology and those who practice it in contempt. But what does it mean here to go too far? And how do astrologers go about demonstrating that their beliefs are in fact credible? Here the "debate" can become akin to those who embrace a religious faith insisting that atheists cannnot demonstrate that God does not exist. True enough. But we are still back to the point many make that it is far more incumbent upon those who argue that something does exists to do the demonstrating.

This is, in part, what the Manifesto says:

“Scientists in a variety of fields have become concerned about the increased acceptance of astrology in many parts of the world. We, the undersigned — astronomers, astrophysicists, and scientists in other fields — wish to caution the public against the unquestioning acceptance of the predictions and advice given privately and publicly by astrologers.…In ancient times people believed in the predictions and advice of astrologers because astrology was part and parcel of their magical world view. They looked upon celestial objects as abodes or omens of the gods and, thus, intimately connected with events here on earth; they had no concept of the vast distances from the earth to the planets and stars. Now that these distances can and have been calculated, we can see how infinitesimally small are the gravitational and other effects produced by the distant planets and the far more distant stars."


Here I would insert this:

Light travels at approximately 186,000 miles a second. That is about 6,000,000,000,000 miles a year.
The closest star to us is Alpha Centauri. It is 4.75 light-years away. 28,500,000,000,000 miles.
So, traveling at 186,000 miles a second, it would take us 4.75 years to reach it. The voyager spacecraft [just now exiting our solar system] will take 70,000 years to reach it.
To reach the center of the Milky Way galaxy it would take 100,000 light-years.
Or consider this:
"To get to the closest galaxy to ours, the Canis Major Dwarf, at Voyager's speed, it would take approximately 749,000,000 years to travel the distance of 25,000 light years! If we could travel at the speed of light, it would still take 25,000 years!"
The Andromeda galaxy is 2.537 million light years away.


Or consider the staggering facts discovered in the latest episode of Space's Deepest Secrets: The Big Wall.

https://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows ... great-wall
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: astrology

Postby Sculptor » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:36 pm


Astrology works in exacly the same way that racism works.


They are both systems of belief based on arbitrary and and nonsensical differences, which can be used to collect prejudices via selective bais by which people chose to caricature their fellow humans into convenient categories.

Such systems can become self fulfilling. Imagine a world in which "Pisceans" decided to favour other "Pisceans" for marriage, jobs and other favours. Imagine a world in which there were star-sign attacks, where all Water Signs were considered to be inferior, and Fire Signs, selected for high office were allowed to enslave Water Signs, and the Earth and WInd Signs were the middle Classes.
Owing to attacks and prejudice Water Sign people who have the worse jobs, lower wages, bad housing, and would live in ghettos.

In our world the same thing has been done, not with star signs but with the colour of people's skin.

Why is it last year that one category of people armed with automatic weapons protesting lockdown suffered no attacks from police.

Whilst another category of unarmed people protesting that they could not breath, and protesting the arbitrary opporession of their people were kettled, sprayed, beaten and arrested?

Category 1 white, category 2 black
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Re: astrology

Postby Sculptor » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:43 pm

"Discuss the difference between astrology and astronomy.
To what extent did the ancients differentiate them "

To some extent these two disciplines are not directly comparable. Astronomy seeks empirical evidence from which cosmological hypotheses may be formulated. Astrology is but one cosmological system. In this sense astronomy is a tool of astrology. Modern definitions, and therefore, their differences are more clear cut than in the past. Astronomy is an empirical science whereas astrology has been dubbed pseudo-science. The development of these discourses have been guided and informed by varying cultural preconceptions. Astronomy by ancient ideas of physics such as perfect Pythagorean circles and astrology by religious and mythological beliefs. They have both been motivated by the need to navigate, keep time and divine meaning from the depth of space.

To define astrology I shall allow those versed in its knowledge and practiced in its application to speak for themselves. Charles Carter, in his book The Principals of Astrology claims to offer a "concise presentation of the essential facts of modern astrology"(Carter, 1973, V). He has no compunction in applying the word science to describe his discipline; "astrology", he says, "is the science of certain cryptic relations between the celestial bodies and terrestrial life". He avoids language of cause and effect and relies upon a personal familiarisation with the topic to prove its usefulness, convinced that practical application will "soon convince any practitioner" (ibid. p14). Mayo (1979, p2) is no less optimistic and sees astrology as "a system of interpreting symbols correlated to human behaviour and activity". He talks of the symbols deriving from the "cosmic space-time energy-system". Although he does not state exactly what this might be. Astrology is a study of correspondences, predispositions and tendencies of human life which are in some way mirrored in the positions and movements of planets and stars. Astronomy has been concerned with gathering evidence of apparent juxtapositions between events of human individuals and societies with heavenly bodies within arbitrarily defined segments of space.

Modern astrology uses the same collection of symbols that, deriving from Babylonian originals, has been in common usage since its adoption during the Hellenistic period. The night sky is divided into twelve segments, through which the planets traverse. This is the known as the Zodiac, the 12 divisions are arbitrary and bear no relation to any fundamental structure of the stars. Each star that makes up a single constellation may be very remote in terms of its depth to other stars in the constellation, although this was not know to the Ancients. The earth is thought to project 12 divisions known as houses onto the sphere of the heavens and represent departments of everyday life. The interpretation comes as the practitioner decides what the interactions of planet, sign and house may mean for forthcoming events, on the scale of society or the individual. In the case of the individual these conjunctions are of paramount importance at the time of birth.

Astronomy literally means "star arranging". This is something of an etymological misnomer and in strict terms, as Bio-logy is the science of life, astro-logy would be a better term to describe the practice of astronomy. However the terminological division is historically justified. Astronomy is concerned with the appearances of positions and movements of celestial bodies and using this empirical evidence to suggest hypotheses for understanding future positions. The observable motions of the heavens are bewildering as Lloyd so concisely summarises (Lloyd, 1970, 85). The heavens rotate east to west in 24 hours. Constellations differ with seasons, but reappear in like positions in successive years. The position of the sun in relation to the stars changes regularly in a west to east direction through the zodiacal constellations during the year. The moon and planets move east to west, also through the zodiac, although each body takes a different length of time (Saturn takes 30 years, the moon 1 month). Planetary motion is erratic (planet = lit. wanderer) and the motion is sometimes retrograde. It is the chief concern of astronomy to correlate mechanical relations and to provide a cosmological hypothesis to explain these motions. This is achieved by application of a strict hypothetical/deductive method which makes clear its a priori assumptions upon which the system's epistemology stands and any a posterioi assumptions which result from such a system. To exemplify, Aristarchos's heliocentric system had to give account of the absence of stellar parallax, which depended on the a priori assumption that the earth circled the sun. Rational process, relying on an understanding of parallax suggests ( a posteriori) that stars must be at a considerable distance from earth. It has always been the goal of astronomy to find the best hypothesis to explain the phenomena or "save the appearances".

Astrology still accommodates the new discoveries from astronomical science such as planets of Pluto, Neptune and Uranus and has adopted the heliocentric system despite this "shattering blow" (Enc. Brit.) dealt by Copernicus. Modern astronomy on the other hand still applies traditional mythological nomenclature to its new discoveries such as the planetary satellites (Io, Miranda etc.). The modern division between these sciences is quite clear. Astrology applies assumptions of a metaphysical nature and as such are quite unacceptable to modern science which, as closely as possible relies on assumptions of an observable and mechanical kind. The metaphysical assumptions of astrology are that there is a grand design or final cause to the universe, that nothing happens by chance and that this teleological scheme can be divined by celestial observation.

The roots of astrology/astronomy can be traced to the third millennium BCE in ancient Mesopotamia. The ancient Chaldeans were accomplished star gazers and had achieved remarkable results. The length of the year was computed to an error of less than 0.001 % and the motions of the moon and sun had only three time the error when compared to 19th century CE astronomers (Koestler, 1959, 20). They were able to predict astronomical events because of a coherent arithmetic method aided by application of a place value numerical system of base 60: sexigesimal. This study was chiefly motivated by the belief in the ability to divine human events. "Shortly after a sign people assumed a connection (with events)... Whenever a sign occurred again, it was thought to produce the same event once more " (Hunger, 1992, XIII). Astronomy was applied in the hope of predicting forthcoming natural disasters. An industry grew up in the creation of stone tablets which recorded events and simultaneous celestial conjunctions in the search for patterns.

e.g." TABLET 538
The sighting of Venus(ishtar) in Pisces
[If Venus} becomes visible [in Sheba]t
the harvest of the land will prosper
If the worm star is very massive
there will be peace in the land." (Hunger 1992, 295)

The perceived correlations were fully systematised by the seventh century BCE in the Enuma Anu Enlil. Significant celestial events were solar and lunar eclipses, new or full moons on particular days, planetary motion (whether retrograde or not) and planetary position with respect to constellation.

According to Sachs (1974) monthly tablets from the 1st dynasty of Babylon record not only the astronomical event but also commodity values: the respective amounts of barley, dates, sesame seeds and wool that could be purchased with a single shekel of silver. Not only was astrology linked to astronomy but also to agriculture, economy, religion and politics. Modern astronomy owes its origins to ancient Babylon so too does our 12 monthly calendar, days of the week ( in Latin countries) and also the 60 minutes per hour are from sexigesimal time. The middle east is often referred to as the cradle of Western civilisation. For it was here that agricultural practice was first organised and capitalised. This required a detailed knowledge of the changing seasons and an ability to organise labour. Astrology provided a religious framework, a control system, under which workers were bound by the astral destiny to plant crops in spring and harvest in autumn. On a lighter note it was believed that Persian Kings were so concerned with astronomy that Aristophanes jokes that the Great King waited for a full moon before he "buttoned up his arse".(The Archarnians, p 52).

Astrology came west in the second century BCE following the conquest of Chaldea by Alexander in 331 BCE. In 280 Berossus priest of the Marduk Temple of Babylon introduced astronomical ideology to the Hippocratic school on Cos. (e.g. Hippocratic Writings: Aphorisms IV, 5, p216). It came into a culture with long standing traditions of divination and astronomy and its differentiation from astrology was an inevitable consequence of astrology moving out of its original cultural context. There had been many attempts by Greek philosophers to devise mechanistic models to explain the observed celestial phenomena. Anaximander (610-547 BCE) suggested the world was a cylinder and the sun an axle hole. The Pythagorean school developed the hearth (counter earth) theory which held that the sun merely reflected the light from a great central hearth. Eudoxus developed the Crystal sphere hypothesis, improved upon by Callipus and Aristotle which introduced the notion that the universe was made from a nest of concentric spheres. This hypothesis went some way to explain the retrogradations as only some spheres had planets and the various planets were attached to transparent spheres which were pivoted and various points. What was important is that astronomy searched for a mechanical explanation. The cultural milieu was philosophically eclectic: Greeks who consciously or unconsciously accepted the precepts embodied in Stoicism had no need to differentiate. But those accepting the emerging Epicurean scepticism the division was more clear.

The historical tension between astronomy and astrology is paralleled in the philosophical differences between Epicureanism and Stoicism. Although this tension can still be seen today it was not to be resolved until Newton provided a sound mathematical methodology (calculus) to assert the existence of the void in Principia Mathematica. Astrology became a fact of Mediterranean life and was enthusiastically received by the Stoics (Koestler, Gauquelin) who held that nature, reason, fate and god were one agency, a material agency. This intelligent agency fused the heavens with pnuema, a life force, which totally penetrated all living things. Astronomy provided the mechanics and astrology provided the intelligible structure to support Stoicism. The rejection of astrology would find a home in the growing Epicurean philosophy which held that existence was made up of atoms and void, that the senses were of primary significance, laying the ground for empiricism and therefore the differentiation of astrology and astronomy.

Astrology came to Rome via slaves of Greek origin during the Republic and both Pompey and Caesar had personal horoscopes read (Gauquelin, 32). Cicero, a student of the new Academy had studied both philosophical traditions had the opportunity to reject both of their absolutism (Ross, 1972, 9), the synthesis that followed provided Cicero's pragmatism. Cicero was convinced that divination was a superstition (Falconer, 192, 216), he refers to astrology as "inconceivable madness!" (De Divinatione, II, 90). Despite his objections the comet that appeared during the games given at the death of Caesar was to render rational objections to astrology academic during a time when astrology was growing daily (Rose, 1948 112ff). The survival of belief systems is not to be judged by rational philosophical methods or the rational arguments of the wise but merely by popularity of its application. Cicero died in the year following the publication of De Divinatione at the hands of the man who was to elevate astrology to new heights, Augustus. His own propaganda applied the astrological notion of the saeculum or Golden Age, the minting of silver coinage stamped with the sign of Capricorn (his conception sign, a Royal sign) and the reading of his personal horoscopes raised it's respectability. Astrology was readily adopted into the eclectic religious milieu. It embrace by Roman thought is evidenced in Georgics I,1 ;" What makes the cornfields happy, under what constellation / It's best to turn the soil...".also I,32; " Or whether you make a new sign in the Zodiac, where amid the / Slow months gap is revealed between Virgo and Scorpio..."

Following this period astronomy also enjoyed a flowering. For Neugebaur (p4) it becomes a "real science" when the phenomena can be observed as numerical data which are made the criteria for supporting theories. For this he sites the application of sexigesimal mathematics by Hipparkhos in 150 BCE, without which Almagest could not have been written (Ibid., 541). Such is the priority that a mathematical historian gives to mathematics. Despite the inadequacy of Greek maths to deal with celestial phenomena, Aristarkhos c. 230 developed a fully heliocentric system without the benefit of the sexigesimal system. Aristarkhos did not fudge the issue as he made it quite clear what the implications of such a system were. This is the mark of "real science": when all possible assumptions are made clear and consequent contingent assumptions realised. However, for a theory to become established it must satisfy the twin conditions set by current scientific knowledge and social acceptability.

Aristotelian physics and religious preconceptions prevented the uptake of this system. The distinction of Astronomy and Astrology can be demonstrated, paradoxically in the works of a single man: Ptolemy. His Almagest is a work of science. He sets out to " increase the love of the discipline of things ... astronomical "( p6). He carefully sets out his assumptions which precede a set of proofs and hypotheses. He also raises objections to other possibilities such as the objections of physics to a mobile earth. The rest of the work is concerned with a mathematical description, applying Euclidean geometry, of his hypotheses concerning the motions of the planets. He considers all known phenomena and saves the same with models, which introduce the notion of eccentric orbits and epicycles. It is easy for us to ridicule his assumption of perfect circles or geocentricism but his system worked sufficiently for over 1200 years. In sharp contrast Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos is a work of pure astrology. Here we see the sharp division in the two subject exemplified in the works of a single individual.

The strength of science is that, as a body of knowledge it may be challenged and accommodate change. No scientific "fact" is immune from such a challenge. All theories stand and fall upon the strength and weakness of their assumptions. Euclid in his Elements carefully sets out his definitions and postulates and it is within those parameters alone that his propositions apply. In more recent years it has been possible to overturn his mathematical method by challenging those postulates, especially the fifth which induces that parallel lines in extension never meet. This has been abandoned by the analytical methods of Newton (Sklar, 16). Scientific theories may be challenged in the revelation of their inadequacy or in the light of new discoveries. What finally sets astrology apart is that its assumptions are metaphysical and therefore cannot be challenged as its claims simply transcend the limits of empirical evidence and are therefore purely a matter of belief and taste. This is why it is still practised today.





Bibliography

Astrology, J. Mayo, Hodder and Stoughton, 1979.
The Principles of Astrology, Charles Carter, Theosophical Publishing House, 1963.
The Cosmic Clock, Michel Gauquelin, Peter Owen, 1967.
Early Greek Science, G. E. R. Lloyd, Norton, 1970.
Aristophanes, Lysistrata and other Plays, trans., Sommerstein, Penguin, 1973.
Greek Science after Aristotle, G. E. R. Lloyd, Norton, 1973.
Almagest, Ptolemy, Great Books of the World, Enc. Brit, 1952.
The Place of Astronomy in the Ancient World, eds., Oxford, 1974.
A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy Part One, Neugebaur.
Astrological Reports to the Assyrian Kings, Herman Hunger, Helsinki Univ., 1992.
The Sleepwalkers, Arthur Koestler, Hutchinson, 1959.
The Nature of the Gods, Cicero, trans. J.M. Ross, Penguin, 1972.
De Divinatione, Cicero, trans. W.A. Falconer, Loeb,1923.
Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, J. M. Ashmand, Fowler, 1917.
Space, Time and Space/Time, Lawrence Sklar, Univ. C.A., 1974.
Virgil, The Eclogues/The Georgics, trans. C. Day Lewis, Oxford, 1983.
Hippocratic Writings, trans. J. Chadwick, Penguin, 1950.
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