A rant about the misuse of science

The following excerpt is taken from the introduction of Astrocycles by Vivan B Martin:

In 1975, a group of 186 scholars (18 of whom were Nobel prizewinners)… signed a manifesto that appeared in the 1975 fall issue of Humanist magazine. It said, in part, “We the undersigned… wish to caution the public against the unquestioning acceptance of the predictions and other advice… by astrologers. Those who wish to believe in astrology should realize there is no scientific foundation for its tenets.” The “Objections to Astrology” manifesto was publicized around the world, yet the press rarely examined the fact that some of the ringleaders openly acknowledged that they’d never really studied astrology.

I can understand one’s skepticism of over simplified daily and monthly horoscope predictions found in newspapers and magazines but I think the complete disregard and contempt towards astrology – especially in the name of science – is incredibly ignorant. Unfortunately, like those who signed the 1975 manifesto, most people I know who are convinced that astrology is nothing more than superstition for the mindless masses have never studied this ancient art.

These people conveniently ignore the fact that astrology is the predecessor to astronomy and arguably, psychology as well (as it’s used to explain personality types). It is also a close cousin to philosophy because, at the heart of the matter, astrology is an attempt to understand human nature.

Please don’t take this article as my attempt to turn skeptics into believers.

In truth, while I am quite fascinated by this art, I’m still not a complete believer. There are aspects of it that doesn’t resonant with me. What I do believe is that astrology is one of the oldest methods humans have used to understand the universe around us. As such, there is much wisdom that can be gathered if we are willing to view it without bias.

I write this piece to point out the hypocrisy of those who condemn astrology and other studies assigned under the label of Occult in the name of science. So many people who claim to be rational beings turn their noses on the occult and accuse those who practice these arts to be superstitious. But to conclude that something is not worthy of study without making any genuine attempt to know that subject is the truly irrational behaviour.

Although science is viewed as the ultimate intellectual pursuit, in practice, it is not always the case. In reality, the scientific community are comprised of humans. Some of them have utmost integrity while others are swayed by their need for recognition, political pressure and personal biases. There are many subjects worthy of scientific pursuit but receives no funding simply because the scientific community has deemed these topics unworthy.

Astrocycles continues the point it made in its intro and says that the author had trouble getting any scientist to go on record for saying that they believe astrology to be a field worthy of academic study because they feared to be outcasted from the scientific community.

Imagine what our world would be like if Galileo never exposed his knowledge of the solar system. Would we still be living in the medieval times? While I give thanks for his courage to stand against the mighty church, I lament that science is now treating the spiritual the same way the religious once treated the scientific.

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