Astrologers jump on Cox

By Phil Plait | April 7, 2010 12:12 pm

briancox_sunI have not yet seen "Wonders of the Solar System", because it hasn’t aired in America yet. It’s a BBC astronomy documentary hosted by my friend Brian Cox, and from what I have heard is an extraordinary event. I can’t wait to see it.

Some folks, though, have a different opinion. Brian, like me, is an outspoken skeptic, and will brook no nonsense. In one episode of the show, he said, "…astrology is a load of rubbish."

This is, of course, completely accurate. Astrology has no mechanism, no predictability, and no physical way of working. When tested even using its own standards it fails miserably.

Astrology doesn’t work, and anyone telling you otherwise is selling something.

Just as obviously, those people who are selling something have taken umbrage at Brian’s impolitic uttering of truth. They have started a Facebook page where they can get together and reinforce their silliness, make fun of Brian, and grossly misrepresent science. My favorite bit is this, in the page description:

His careless assertion was unresearched, unsubstantiated and unscientific. Has he done any empirical studies? Has he explored his birth chart? Can he cite any scientific studies disproving astrology that are not fundamentally flawed? Of course not. I have certainly never seen him at an astrology conference or read anything written by him about astrology. Cox is simply not qualified to speak on astrology and his comments amount to no more than prejudice.

Yes. Brian, a PhD physicist with decades of training in the scientific method, research, analysis, logic, and critical thinking, who has written a book on relativity and works at CERN on the Large Hadron Collider, is not qualified to speak on astrology. Heh.

By the way, astrologers: in the link above I do cite scientific studies that are not flawed and show astrology to be nonsense, just as they trash flawed studies that support astrology. I have explored birth charts and found them to be nothing more than tarot cards/Ouija boards/tea leaves/cold reading tools. I have seen empirical studies, and they all show astrology = nonsense.

And "prejudice"? No, it’s not prejudice. You just assume that because we disagree with you. But I’ve studied astrology, and I conclude that it’s garbage. That’s not prejudice. That’s reality.

And don’t forget:

MORE ABOUT: astrology, Brian Cox

Comments (128)

  1. Bahdum (aka Richard)

    Ah, the tauroidal advice of astrologers. (I’d use “taurid,” but I think that’s taken.)

  2. Phil, don’t be such a crab. You shouldn’t let astrologers get your goat. They’re simply fishing for something to make them fell better.

  3. X. Wolp

    The last episode of the series aired recently and it really is awe inspiring, Cox is one of these presenters that can bring tears to your eyes by just talking about dust.
    Curiously, I think there haven’t been any complaints yet about his claims that the sun is not a god…

    (Spoiler for episode 5: Also as it turn out in the end, no John, you are the wonders)

  4. Jove

    wasn’t astrology created like a couple thousand years ago based on stars that today could be black holes or have moved? its sorcery

  5. Y’know, I’ve never actually done a rigorous study on the topic of whether Smurfs are actual living creatures on which the cartoon was based, but I feel entirely confident in saying that they don’t exist, and that the idea is just “absolute rubbish.”

    Some things can be dismissed on their face for being laughably silly. Astrology is one of them.

  6. Dwatney

    What? They didn’t follow the lead of the BCA and file a libel suit?

  7. Becca Stareyes

    Jove, depends on what scheme you use. I’d say astrology is probably more than a couple of thousand years old based on the idea that once people figured out they could keep track of the seasons via the skies, someone got the bright idea that maybe they told you more than ‘when do I plant my crops’ and ‘when will we get some warm weather — I’m sick of the cold’. Especially the ones that didn’t follow the clearer day/month/year cycles, or didn’t seem to follow cycles at all (comets). But people probably got more advanced as they found out that any sufficiently complex system can get the human brain into pattern-seeking mode.

  8. Watch out with your statement, “Astrology is Bull” you’ll get the Texas Cattleman claiming you’re not familiar enough with animal husbandry to make that claim.

  9. Counting down to the point when some “British Astrological Association” photocopies the BCA’s complaint, white-out the word “chiropractic” and write-in “astrological” and sue for libel…

  10. Cain

    I hope he adds this to his CV. To actual scientists being jumped on by astrologers this is right up there with being a professor at the University of Manchester.

  11. BeamFormer

    “Yes. Brian, a PhD physicist […] is not qualified to speak on astrology. Heh”

    Argument-from-authority fail. Just because someone is an expert in one area does not automatically mean he/she is an expert in any other unrelated area as well.

    Of course astrology is a huge pile of bull droppings, but Prof. Cox isn’t more or less qualified to judge this just becasue he works at CERN. We never get tired to point out these logical failures when the woo-meisters use them, let’s be more careful not to use the same arguments ourselves…

  12. KARATEX

    The 13-year-old in me read that headline and laughed.

  13. Dr. Cox doesn’t get a ™ as a friend of yours? I’m sure Adam Savage (Your Close Personal Friend™)is positively gloating over that one. :D

  14. BJN

    Astrology incorporates the “elements” earth, air, fire and water. I’m sure that simple periodic table has the same basis in rigorous scientific study.

  15. mike burkhart

    Ive made two points about Astrology on this blog and I will repet them: 1 THERE ARE TECNICALY 15 CONSTELLATIONS THAT THE SUN,MOON,AND THE PLANETS ARE SEEN IN AT CERTAIN TIMES OF THE YEAR THIS MEENS THERE ARE 15 CONSTELLATIONS IN THE ZODIAC Astrologers ingnore the other 3 because there system only works with 12 constellations after all they can only give birth sings if there are 12 since there are only 12 months of the year 2 DUE TO PRECESSION THE CONSTELLATIONS THAT ARE USED AS BIRTH SINGS NO LONGER APPEAR IN THE MONTHS ASINGED they now apper one month earlier Astronomers have ajusted there star charts to show this but Astolgers have not so they are useing a system that is out of date

  16. perhaps everyone here should become fans of the facebook page to point out how absurd the woo really is. It’s probably like teaching a pig to sing, though.

  17. timebinder

    Can you do a post about how jack-o-lanterns don’t really scare away evil spirits?

  18. @BeamFormer regarding your comment:

    “Argument-from-authority fail. Just because someone is an expert in one area does not automatically mean he/she is an expert in any other unrelated area as well.
    Of course astrology is a huge pile of bull droppings, but Prof. Cox isn’t more or less qualified to judge this just becasue he works at CERN. We never get tired to point out these logical failures when the woo-meisters use them, let’s be more careful not to use the same arguments ourselves…”

    He would be one of the most qualified to deal with astrology. He studies how the universe works at its deepest and most fundamental levels. If the laws of physics do not allow astrology to work then yes, he is perfectly qualified to say that astrology is a load of rubbish.

  19. I think you HAVE watched it before Phil, you just won’t admit it since Discovery Communications purchased the US licensing ;)

    Hopefully they won’t air it the same time as “Palin’s Alaska”

    But yeah, …astrology is a load of rubbish

  20. DigitalAxis

    @14 BJN:
    Well, we have reduced those atoms down to mostly up quarks, down quarks, gluons and electrons… I’m not sure which one is supposed to be water, though.

    @15 mike:

    I think there are only 13 (the 13th being Ophiuchus) but that’s as designated by the IAU, and astrologers could argue they’re using different constellation boundaries. That doesn’t help them with the precession of the Earth’s orbit, and it also doesn’t help that no reputable controlled non-flawed studies have seen anything that could support astrology.

    (pro tip for astrologers: A study is not fundamentally flawed just because it doesn’t agree with you)

  21. dre

    Best comment so far from the fbook page linked above: “Look, the man is just ordinary, he has no sense of meta-physics. He is no scholar, certainly not to the degree that so MANY of my own astrology colleagues have! [sic] So, he’s a wanker…”

    Anywho, since Brian Cox’s field of expertise is precisely the one that conflicts most directly with the claims of astrology, I would second (or third, or fourth, or wherever we are at this point) that he is in fact extremely qualified to dismiss astrology as rubbish.

  22. Chris A.

    @Mike Burkhart (#14):
    First and foremost, Phil is right and astrology is bunk. So please, no one, misunderstand what I am about to say.

    The first argument you present (that there are actually fifteen zodiac constellations) does not help the cause of arguing against astrology. Astrology does not define constellations according to the boundaries established by the IAU at the start of the 20th century (given its ancient origins, how could it?). When you make this argument, astrologers can quite correctly accuse you of attacking a straw man.

    As for your second argument, it’s well taken–there are both “precessional” and “non-precessional” astrologers out there, and the fact that they cannot agree is damning to both.

    There are plenty of sound arguments against the validity of astrology. Let’s stick to those.

    And I know that it’s considered impolite to point this out on the Internet, but it also wouldn’t hurt for you to use a spell checker (and lose the “shouting” all caps) and the occasional punctuation. I counted fourteen misspelled words and only one punctuation mark in 126 words! Sloppy writing distracts from the message, and your post was terribly sloppy.

  23. Ken Youngstrom

    Yes, it is a great series. Above all, Dr. Cox seems to be having an absolutely wonderful time. The DVD is scheduled for release on April 12 according to Amazon UK (about 13 pounds, or less than $20.00). It will be a Region 2 (PAL) coded disc, but most DVD players can easily be reprogrammed to Region 0 which will let them play discs from any region. Just Google ‘Region Hack’ together with your DVD player’s make and model. Super easy to do and it open up access to the full range of great BBC items.

  24. Mr Ed

    To paraphrase Mr Deity: The difference between astrology and astronomy is 50 IQ points.

  25. Gareth

    Ha ha! I knew as he said that in the series that there would be loads of angry letters!

    The series itself was superb. To be honest, I had been a bit disappointed with a couple of Cox’s previous documentaries, but this one was excellent.

  26. Gareth

    Katherine Cassidy asks a good question in the Facebook comments – what happens when a Theoretical Astrophysicist endorses Astrology? Then it MUST be true! Duh duh duhhhhh!

    http://www.kathryncassidy.com/articles/how-astrology-works.cfm

    Well, I’m convinced. All hail the Great God of Astrology, and so on and so forth.

  27. Andrew

    Best thing about this post: The ads that google ads has selected to go with it.

  28. Gary

    If you want to shut even the most ardent supporter of astrology up, ask them if they would happily accept a job interview based on their star sign alone.

  29. Ah yes. Creating a Facebook group to hate on someone. The “high road” of intellectual discussion. Endorsed by 14-year-old girls everywhere!

  30. jentennae

    To quote Mr. Deity: The difference between astronomy and astrology? About 50 IQ points.

    http://tinyurl.com/astroIQ

  31. Esselhaych

    In agreement with Gareth – I groaned as soon as he said it because I could just hear the backlash whirring into motion. I really hope this doesn’t end up being a Singh-like libel bandwagon because such ridiculousness would totally detract from a series that has been a wonder all of its own. Hopefully it’ll all end up being a gaseous storm in a teacup and we can all get back to discussing the dubiously named Snottites.

  32. That quote from the Facebook page filled my previously mundane day with gales of laughter. Thanks.

  33. That quote from the Facebook site really filled my my day with much laughter. Thanks.

  34. Menyambal

    So the astrologers say that the influence of Jupiter on this planet’s people is through its gravity? The entire Earth would react equally to that gravity, with a tidal effect too small to be calculated. But somehow, weighing one zillionth of a gram more or less is what profoundly affects our lives?

    I haven’t seen the series, but I bet the way that Jupiter’s gravity affects our planet is through affecting the orbits of comets and asteroids, which are ‘way more imprssive than astrology.

  35. Utakata

    *Awaits for a 30 parargraph dissertation from Plutonium being from Pluto on why astrology isn’t bull, but an alternative way of thinking.*

  36. Laura

    I had an aquaintence ask me one time what my birthdate was so she could do one of those “birth chart” things. I told her my birthdate was June 2nd, 1985. She looked it up and spouted all this stuff about how my birth date meant that I was such a kind person, a good leader, sensitive to the needs of others, blah blah blah. At the end she asked if it described me well, and I said yeah, it does, which is pretty amazing considering my ACTUAL birthdate is November 5th, 1985.

    She doesn’t like me anymore. Imagine my heartbreak.

  37. Chris

    Has he explored his birth chart?
    Which one? It’s not like there is one universal all accepted birth chart that everyone can reference? There are a bunch, I’m sure if we all look long enough we’ll find one that suits are life. Our local newspaper has two horoscopes listed side by side. What a shock, they don’t agree!

  38. Dan

    http://www.ninjavideo.net/cat/2408

    For those who aren’t so good at waiting…

    Fantastic series, for experts and amateurs alike. Brian gets a little too much face time. Would have liked more pictures. Maybe some graphs. But very well done.

    And speaking as someone who still keeps in touch with someone else born in the same hospital, same floor, three minutes apart, and that is the only thing we have in common, despite how many similarities astrology says we should have, I consider myself qualified to say astrology is bull.

  39. jcm

    One more tidbit: In every publication such as newspapers, magazine, web, etc, horoscopes are not consistent with one another. And, astrologers themselves do not agree with each other.

    Speaking of which, here’s Carl Sagan on astrology:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB88HnlLgZ8

  40. Norm

    Has anyone ever considered that science is only as good as the instruments that measure it? I always wonder about the areas of the universe that are beyond current technologies field of view.

  41. Michael Swanson

    Here are serveral of my personality traits: I am inquisitive, sensitive, impatient, stubborn, good-humored, a dreamer, lazy, quick to anger and quick to forgive, personally pessimistic but philosophically optimistic, and shy. However, I am a Taurus (unless you pay attention to the precession of the equinoxes). So anytime I’m being stubborn someone astrologoon trots out the phrase, “Oh, you’re such a typical Taurus.”

    No one says, when I am thinking of the screenplays I want to write but never do; or the piano bagatelles I’m going to write in every major and minor key (I wrote five of them, falling nineteen short of that lofty goal); or that I’m going to learn Japanese AND Russian, but never do; or when I embraced the rainbows and unicorns and Atlantean guardian angel bull**** of my New Age upbringing (I didn’t like astrology and numerology even then) that I was a typical “dreamy” Taurus. No, they say that to my “typically dreamy Pisces” friend. Who is also amazingly stubborn.

    Astrology is a cherry-picking load of garbage.

  42. SlyEcho

    I just looked at the constellation chart and I have decided that my sign is now Fornax. Mainly because it’s a cool name, but also because it actually matches my birth date. So what if it’s not one of the traditional ones, so what if it’s not actually visible from where I was born. I can now deflect anyone who tries to read me my horoscope.

  43. Patricio

    Phil. In my modest opinion, the text you quoted is just a fine masterpiece of terminal imbecility.
    But, unfortunately, we live in a world flooded with garbage. Mind you, the current heavy rains in Rio, with several deaths, were a failure attributed to the Fundação Cacique Cobra Coral (Coral snake chief foundation) that claims they can control climate through the spirit of this indian chief. I wouldn’t mind if the municipality had not contracted their “services”. (To be fair, they do not charge any price for the spiritual services – they get their profit from other sources – namely , an insurance company they run). So, what harm can a little astrology do? LOL

  44. Laura

    When I was a kid, I used to cut out the horoscopes from the newspaper on my birthday. Year after year. Eventually, I used those clippings as evidence the astrology had to be complete bunk because every one of them either gave me traits so general that they applied to everyone, or traits that had nothing to do with me… and they contradicted each other.

    I continued to cut them out for years out of habit, but I was never stupid enough to actually believe them. I still find horoscopes amusing, and prefer Weird Al’s take on them. But the more I learn about astrologers, the less amusing I find the whole thing. Some of these people are real scumbags, while others are just self-delusional. And it doesn’t take rigorous scientific examination to provide plenty of evidence that astrology is bunk… just look at the “facts” that astrologers themselves provide and it’s obvious.

  45. There’s more to astrology than just sun signs.

    There’s the Moon sign (how you feel), the Rising Sign (how you present yourself to others, how others see you first), Mercury sign (how you speak, how you think. Also related to siblings), the Venus sign (how you love. Also related to finances); Mars sign (how you assert yourself); Jupiter sign (traditionaly called the planet of good fortune, it can indicate some part of your life where things are a litle bit “easier”. Also related to our personal values, our personal truth); the Saturn sign (it tells of boundaries. A part of one’s life that it’s hard and takes alot of work to be surpassed and conquered. Saturn is called the teacher); Uranus and Pluto signs – but these two planets affect an entire generation. Baby Boomers had Pluto in Leo, for instance).

    Then there’s the North Node – what your are suppost to learn in this life, a new lesson, a path never travelled; and the South Node, that shows gifts that you already have, something that you already know about and it might even be an ingrained pattern from which it could be extremely difficul to escape from.

    There’s so much more to know about astrology. I love it and I think I’ll be studying it all my life.

  46. Jim Cruff

    Just a thought; if astrology really worked, then why don’t insurance companies use astrology to help them rate the life insurance policies they write?

  47. AC

    You would have thought, that if astrology were not utter garbage, the astrologers would have foreseen Brian’s criticism (from some point in the distant past), and would have had ample time to produce a compelling and well researched rebuttal, backed with hard data from reproducible experiments.

  48. I will believe in astrology when Mike Burkhart starts believing in punctuation.

    Oh, and Brian Cox is still way cute.

  49. TMB

    The bits where they complain about him not doing an empirical study make my irony glands hurt…

    [TMB]

  50. Astrofiend

    Haven’t seen them yet Phil? They’re awesome. Just download them from bittorrent.

    Seriously, I live in Australia, and it is inevitably a year or more before docos made by BBC or PBS make their way over here, and even then it’s only if the hopeless commercial channels deem them ‘hyped up mega science’ enough. What’s more, the BBC and PBS usually have the shows on their websites, but with region restrictions on them, meaning we can’t see shows from either of them here.

    So screw it – if the TV networks can’t be bothered finding a distribution model that isn’t based in the middle of last century and doesn’t have its head firmly up its arse, then I’ll damn well download their shows for free, ad free. And everyone else should too!

  51. Kevin F.

    Am I the only one who giggled like a schoolboy when I saw “Astrologers jump on cox”?

  52. I just watched the last episode last night and I thought it was the first series I have seen that surpassed COSMOS.

    Carl would have approved I think!

    Dan

  53. I always wonder about the areas of the universe that are beyond current technologies field of view.

    So do I. Though I don’t know what that has to do with astrology.

    Am I the only one who giggled like a schoolboy…

    Yes.

    ….

    *sighs* No.

  54. Gary Ansorge

    52. Kevin F.

    No!

    Good one,,,

    GAry 7

  55. BigBob

    “Astrologers jump on Cox”

    >snikker<
    Bob(Big)

  56. Mena

    No, Kevin F., you weren’t. Well, schoolgirl in this case but still…
    So I guess that it’s not just the tv 24 hour “news” channels in the US that are obsessed with having to present both sides of an issue. Like here, unfortunately it’s real side vs. imaginary side. That would be a fun (IMO) math documentary but otherwise, not so good and more than a complete waste of time.

  57. Michael Swanson

    “I just looked at the constellation chart and I have decided that my sign is now Fornax. Mainly because it’s a cool name..”

    Proactive but prone to arbitrary decisions.

    “…but also because it actually matches my birth date…”

    Seeks external validation.

    “…So what if it’s not one of the traditional ones, so what if it’s not actually visible from where I was born…”

    Is independent, but sometimes to the point of being combative.

    “…I can now deflect anyone who tries to read me my horoscope.”

    Defensive posturing.

    Such a typical Fornax!!!

  58. ndt

    IMForeman Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Y’know, I’ve never actually done a rigorous study on the topic of whether Smurfs are actual living creatures on which the cartoon was based, but I feel entirely confident in saying that they don’t exist, and that the idea is just “absolute rubbish.”

    There you go, being prejudiced.

  59. Sarahsaurus rex

    It’s not only the astrologers that want to jump on Cox. Rawr, that man makes my knees weak.

    But Phil, you must watch this series. I’ve watched every episode that has “aired” since it started maybe 4 or 5 times. BBC makes stunningly gorgeous documentaries and this is no exception.

  60. Allen

    @42 Michael Swanson

    That actually describes me quite well, and I’m a cancer (I don’t put any stock into astrology, but I have bothered to learn my birth stuff).

    I’ll also sixth or whatever in saying that Dr. Cox is well qualified in saying that astrology is “rubbish.” So is anyone who has a sense of critical thinking. It’s not just a matter of degrees or pieces of paper, and when astrologers say that only people well versed in astrology can debunk it, they are just trying to thin out the amount of people who can call them on their lie.

  61. RG

    Greatest teaser headline of all time.

  62. DemetriusOfPharos

    @ Dwatney

    Well, they were going to but when they consulted their horoscopes it was indicated that now was not a good time to take on a new challenge, but rather to stick with the status quo until the Jupiter was back in alignment with Mars.

    Can’t believe no one else made that joke yet.

  63. molybdenumfist

    …a PhD physicist with decades of training in the scientific method, research, analysis, logic, and critical thinking, who has written a book on relativity and works at CERN on the Large Hadron Collider… and played keyboard with D:ream, of course he’s qualified!

    Brian Cox is the awesome

  64. People actually make financial decisions based on this astrology rubbish!!

    How can a planet a billion miles away, just minding it’s own business, have an effect on my love life ??

    The similarity with the word astronomy makes me slightly uncomfortable. I said to someone once that I liked astronomy…believe it or not, they said “I don’t usually read them, I go straight to the sports pages”

    …Tragic !!

  65. Phil,
    I am skeptic, but not an evangelical one. And in fact am perfectly willing to let the world believe as chooses.
    But I must say that I like your statement (below)
    “astrology promotes the worst thing in the world: uncritical thinking. The more we teach people to simply accept anecdotal stories, hearsay, cherry-picked data (picking out what supports your claims but ignoring what doesn’t), and, frankly, out-and-out lies, the harder it gets for people to think clearly. If you cannot think clearly, you cannot function as a human being. I cannot stress this enough. Uncritical thinking is tearing this world to pieces, and while astrology may not be at the heart of that, it has its role.”

    I find that a very compelling argument.

  66. Daniel J. Andrews

    People actually make financial decisions based on this astrology rubbish!!

    Some country leaders actually make government decisions based on astrology. Thank goodness that would never happen in the U.S. [/tongue-in-cheek]

  67. Laura @ 37: Of course she doesn’t like you any more, you’re a deceitful backstabbing Scorpio! It says so right in this Sun Signs book!

    Jim Cruff @ 47″ “Just a thought; if astrology really worked, then why don’t insurance companies use astrology to help them rate the life insurance policies they write?”

    Are you sitting down? Good.

    Get this: For most of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, he and his wife Nancy were given astrological advice by Joan Quigley. She picked the locations for summits, the timings of swearing-in ceremonies, and the timings of pretty much all of his addresses to the nation.

    Her specialty: Using a secret trick (which turned out to the “void of course moon”) to help ensure the burying of bad news. The way it’s supposed to work is thus: Things announced during VOC Moon phases tend to get lost in the cosmic background noise, and thus get ignored or don’t have long-lasting effects — which is just what you want when you are forced to announce bad news.

    Daniel J. Andrews @ 67: GMTA!

  68. astronomer24

    the 1st four episodes can be watched through Atheist Media Blog here:
    http://www.atheistmedia.com/2010/04/bbc-wonders-of-solar-system-episode-4.html

  69. Phred

    You can’t dismiss astrology right off without considering the uncannily accurate horoscopes found in The Onion. Such as this one:

    Libra – Never underestimate the power of suggestion. Neither this morning, nor later this afternoon, when you’re busy washing the stars’ truck.

  70. Therriman

    If I remember correctly Astrology is based on the “fact” that the Earth is not only the center of the solar system. It’s the center of the universe.

    Just this alone means Astrology is full of Bull.

  71. Reminds me of a recent train ride into the city. There was a man sitting a few seats over talking loudly about the wonders of astrology to some people. Normal astrology rubbish, just kept me rolling my eyes. At one point he was talking about astrology and money and made the following statement (paraphrased):

    “When I go looking for an accountant I ask them three questions – are you a Cancer (or, which ever arbitrary star sign he claimed was good with money), are you Chinese or are you a Jew? If they’re at least one of the above, they’ll be fine”.

    I thought to myself – “Oh, so he’s an idiot AND racist.” What a silly person.

  72. TomF

    “In the news tonight, a huge step forwards for the science of astrology yesterday as a twelfth of the population of Birmingham was run over by a bus.”

    (half-remembered from an old Two Ronnies sketch)

  73. Pi-needles

    @ ^ TomF: LOL – classic! :-D

    @ 72. Chris Owen:

    I thought to myself – “Oh, so he’s an idiot AND racist.” What a silly person.

    Sadly, there are all too many idiots like that out there. As Einstein once said – “there are two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I’m not so sure about the universe!” :-(

    I once read a newspaper article which claimed “astrologers” had discovered a new pulsar – I kid you not. :roll:

    @ 15. mike burkhart Says:

    Ive made two points about Astrology on this blog and I will repet them: 1 THERE ARE TECNICALY 15 CONSTELLATIONS THAT THE SUN,MOON,AND THE PLANETS ARE SEEN IN AT CERTAIN TIMES OF THE YEAR ..

    No need to shout.

    I’m aware of Ophiuchus which makes it 13 Zodiacal constellations but what are the other two you are referring to there?

    @ 52. Kevin F. Says:

    Am I the only one who giggled like a schoolboy when I saw “Astrologers jump on cox”?

    No. [Blushes guiltily, raises hand.] ;-)

  74. Pieter Kok

    TomF (73), that is brilliant!

  75. Maagaard

    Astrology is as vacuous as the space it worships. -Perry DeAngelis

  76. Michel

    Glad to live in Spain were they still do fight bull.

  77. Sticks

    But sadly we know how this will end with the invertibrate BBC we all know.

    The BBC as received so far over 200+ complaints and so will cave in and will offer a profuse apology to the Astrological Association. Most likely they will sack all those involved in the programme or not renew any contracts. The Head of BBC2 and documentries will have to step down forthwith. The BBC will then cancel the sequel, never allow Brian near a microphone or camera again and edit out the highly offensive and inflamatory remarks Brian uttered when they release the series, if ever now, on to DVD. In fact I am surprised that they have not pulled the episode from the BBC Iplayer yet

    After all this is licence payers money we are talking about and they would not want to fritter it away contesting any libel action that may or may not be brought.

  78. simon

    I’m a typical Aquarian (born mid February), and as everyone knows Aquarians don’t believe in astrology.

  79. Matthew Ota

    Astrology is Baloney, but the Flying Spaghetti Monster is real!

  80. Vat

    Just a quick thanks for the Facebook link – they had a link to send complaints to the BBC, so I sent the BBC a compliment.

  81. Dunc

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the other bit of awesomeness in that segment – the reference to a force which “surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together”. :)

  82. Georg

    “Y’know, I’ve never actually done a rigorous study on the topic of whether Smurfs are actual living creatures on which the cartoon was based, but I feel entirely confident in saying that they don’t exist, and that the idea is just “absolute rubbish.””

    Smurfs (Schtroumpfs) exist in a lot of German gardens,
    originally as the famous “Gartenzwerg”.
    Even “Schrtoumpf” is likely to be German, it is the
    German Word “Strumpf” (Socks) spelled for a French
    reader. In fact the Smurfs wear pantyhoses (tights),
    “Strumpfhose” in German.
    When I was about 3 years old, I “killed” a Gartenzwerg
    in the garden of the house where we lived, because
    that old and worn clay thing frightened me.
    I did the killing with the heaviest log I could hold,
    from behind.
    I am abot 60 years older now, but my attitude to
    the Gartenzwerg has not changed much.

  83. mike bukhart

    One more thing I love Phill saying Astrology is bull but I thought of some other things you could say:what has astrology done for you?,make astronomy not astrology,astrology leeds to the dark side of the force,astrology is illogical, astrology is garbage,astrology is !?&#%(you fill in the words)

  84. The Brian Cox program(me)s have been great. They are still available on iPlayer for UK residents, too.

    Yeah, I remember him saying “astrology is rubbish”, which is about as much time as he needed to devote to the subject.

    I hope they hire him to present more science programs.

  85. Mike

    Astrology = SQR(-1). I had a friend of mine do my ‘chart’ and he predicted (after the fact) a number of things that occured. I believe that is called 20-20 hindsight.

  86. Adam W

    27. Gary Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    If you want to shut even the most ardent supporter of astrology up, ask them if they would happily accept a job interview based on their star sign alone.

    Actually Gary, my boss only hires people based on their starsign (and I’m not even joking), and also takes business advice from a psychic. HELP!!!!!

    46. Kevin F. Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Am I the only one who giggled like a schoolboy when I saw “Astrologers jump on cox”?

    No, no you weren’t :)

  87. Mr. D

    Here’s a bit taken from the facebook page:

    it quotes Professor Cox, then goes on to completely mis-interpret what he says

    “But despite the fact that astrology is a load of rubbish, Jupiter can in fact, have a profound influence on our planet. And it’s through a force … gravity.” – Brian Cox

    “So, as elsewhere in the program, Cox is confirming what astrologers have long known that the planets have a far greater impact on our lives than was previously accepted by science. So his dismissal of astrology ran contrary to the thrust of the series. ”

    They obviously didn’t watch the rest of the show, because he was actually talking about asteroids and how Jupiter’s gravity can fling objects towards Earth. He doesn’t “confirm” anything about Astrology.

  88. Mitch

    I’ve always wondered why, if astrology is supposed to be a “real science”, that we need astrologers to make these charts. Wouldn’t it make sense to automate the process and free up all the precious time that the current astrologers have to waste when all they are doing is following strict, completely non-arbitrary rules?

    Seems like a perfect way to construct an experiment that would show the efficacy of…

    oh…

    never mind

  89. Corey

    When I teach intro psych or social psych, the second lecture is always a research methods lecture. One thing I reinforce is the value of disconfirming evidence versus confirmatory evidence.

    How I do it is fun. I take a list of adjectives nominally (3 each for every sign of the zodiac). I have the class select which adjectives describe themselves.

    Then…I name the adjectives associated with each sign and have them note if they selected it. Invariably, the class overwhelmingly reports selection of adjectives related to their sign.

    THe next part is the most fun: I have them report the selection of the adjectives not related to their sign. And they also overwhelmingly select those.

    And I also do a mentalism routine to show I’m psychic and they have to disprove it. Usually they figure out a way…

  90. Sili

    But he’s so pretty! How can we possibly take anything he says seriously?

  91. Despite my nature as a heterosexual male, I’m tempted to jump on Cox myself. He’s a very attractive man. *awkward cough*

  92. Gary Ansorge

    This seems a perfect post to note some of the work being done by Intel:

    “Dispute Finder” technology that monitors users’ conversations and Internet browsing to warn them when they encounter contested or inaccurate information. The software mines the Internet to find instances in which writers have claimed something is untrue. It then uses speech recognition technology to monitor conversations.”

    Link to the entire article:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/08/AR2010040801189.html?wpisrc=nl_tech

    Yeah, we really need that. Thanks Intel,,,

    Gary 7

  93. Gotta love the responses that the owner of that facebook page has posted up in his notes.

    http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?id=267856933681

    Particularly the one addressed to Sam Collins. Quoting from the reply, in reference to Sam’s request for evidence in favour of astrology:

    “I assume you are referring to proof under strict scientific methods. In every astrological test (whether designed to prove or disprove) it has so far been impossible to isolate and replicate objective data. Tools that work well in physics, chemistry and molecular biology are far less appropriate and effective with the complexity and infinite number of variables in human behaviour.”

    So if, by their own admission, they cannot provide any strict evidence in favour of astrology, why do they think the effect exists? :P Normal for practitioners of woo. “It works! I know it does! We just can’t get the data to back it up!”

    Funny how human behaviour and other complex systems ARE studied scientifically, yet he claims that astrology can’t be. Which is it, astrologers?

    “This is a long argument, but I will cut to the chase – you can experience astrology by having your chart prepared, you can observe charts to see patterns and you can test out theories on a small scale.”

    So you can only test it anecdotally? Very convincing.

    “However, you will need a huge amount of data, serious funding and collaboration to be able to prove your observations to a level that is acceptable to the scientific community.”

    So why not spend some of that cash you’ve got rolling in on doing exactly that? I can think of one reason … ;P

    These people crack me up.

    I’m also interested in the “you obviously haven’t done much research into astrology” type rebuttals. If they can’t provide the results of any rigorous, scientific study in favour of such an effect, I’d say that neither have they!

  94. pete

    It’d be great if astrology worked. I was born the same day as Hanley Ramirez. He’s an all-star shortstop in the majors, and I’m a guy who is trying to trade for Hanley Ramirez in my fantasy league.

  95. Adam W

    I noticed the moron on that facebook page is suggesting fellow “believers” contact the BBC to complain. Perhaps we should contact the BBC to commend Cox on saying what everyone else is thinking, and asking them to insure future presenters aren’t afraid to voice their opinions on subjects that are clearly bovine scatology.

    They mentioned the BBC has received 200 complaints so far, I reckon we could dwarf those with virtually no effort at all :)

    And it also seems that whole facebook page has attracted more people ripping the pi55 than those genuinely siding with the page’s author!

  96. Michel

    @96
    That´s because you were born either earlier or later.
    It´s very very very very very very sensitive you know.
    A star just a bit to the left or right of your crib and you miss the boat to fame and riches.
    It´s THAT accurate.

  97. Jeff

    “His careless assertion was unresearched, unsubstantiated and unscientific. Has he done any empirical studies? Has he explored his birth chart? Can he cite any scientific studies disproving astrology that are not fundamentally flawed? Of course not. I have certainly never seen him at an astrology conference or read anything written by him about astrology. Cox is simply not qualified to speak on astrology and his comments amount to no more than prejudice.”

    See, astrologers, the problem is, you do not know what science is or isn’t. To qualify as science, astrology must have a set of lawlike statements with which you can derive the data set (explanandum) from the explanatory hypotheses. These hypotheses would then be explanatory, testable, and predictive. Does astrology have such lawlike statements? What are they? I’d like a group of astrologers to answer that one.

  98. Gareth (26) I did not ask any such question. I recounted statements from Dr Seymour’s book. You can read about his theory in more detail here. http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/solar/percyseymour1.html If some learned Scientist with hundreds of letters after his name would like to explain to me why this theory is so ridiculous then I will listen and perhaps revise the opinion I currently hold. I’m open to reason – unlike some of you on here. Until you can proffer solid reasons as to why astrology has to be utter crap, then harmonic theory and resonance appears to be one of the most logical reasons as to why planetary cycles appear to affect events on Earth. By the way Gareth et al, I discovered topics studied by theoretical astrophysicists include stellar dynamics and evolution; galaxy formation; magnetohydrodynamics; large-scale structure of matter in the Universe; origin of cosmic rays; general relativity and physical cosmology, including string cosmology and astroparticle physics. If that Wiki cut and paste is going to have you hollering in derision how about a Fermilab definition; Theoretical Astrophysicists perform research at the confluence of astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t the demigod Prof a Particle Physicist? So what’s so duh duh duh about putting forward a theory by Seymour?
    By the way have you lot seen the fab spoof video on You Tube of Brian. http://ow.ly/1vyo5 You’ll only truly ‘get it’ if you are from the UK but for crissakes you lot, lighten up . Until the day you can measure and quantify humour or the amount of love one feels for one’s children, you’ll always have to accept there are some things which lie outside the realm of’ ‘Scientific proof’.

  99. Hello all,

    yes conventional astrology theory are junk, whether vedic or western. However lifescape astrology is verifiable. you can add your own data, and see the consistency of priniciples yourself. this theory has taken shape in 2010.

    basic definitions of planets itself is wrong in conventional astrology. signs have no impact ect.
    lifescape theory works only on a combination of planet and angles between them. database is being developed.

    i invite any one to challenge this theory, because i see its consistency every day.

    best wishes,
    rakesh singhal

  100. Let us examine these statements: “This is, of course, completely accurate. Astrology has no mechanism, no predictability, and no physical way of working. When tested even using its own standards it fails miserably. Astrology doesn’t work, and anyone telling you otherwise is selling something.” and looking at them one at a time.

    1. The completely accurate refers to the statement “astrology is a load of rubbish”. My only disagreement here is with the word “completely”. A correct statement would be “astrology is very largely a load of rubbish”. Call it a minor quibble, but it is important.

    2. “Astrology has no mechanism” is an argument that I often hear about various alternative theories of all kinds. The Universe does not have a mechanism, it just is. The mechanism is in the mind of the scientist. It exists after the scientist makes a model. It was Newton’s view that gravitation had no mechanism. Did that mean that it didn’t happen? No indeed it did not. Bad argument. Bad logic. If you want to debunk things, your logic needs to be impeccable.

    3. “Astrology has … no predictability” is a statement that is pretty accurate on the whole. That does not mean that it is universally true. Just as there are huge numbers of scientists that never contribute anything new to human knowledge, but just parrot the existing teaching, so too with astrology, but in this case the existing teaching is much more highly degraded. However there have been some people who did original and valid scientific astrology that does make testable predictions, such as the Gauquelins.

    4. “Astrology has … no physical way of working” is bad logic and shows no understanding of the scientific method. First comes correlation and eventually a model which is called “mechanism” or “physical way of working”. If correlation exists (which must be proven) then there is something real that needs explanation. However, even ignoring that error, it is just plain wrong that there is no way for astrology to work. There are any number of ways. What I put here is the tip of the iceberg only:

    a. Planetary alignments are known to be strongly correlated with sunspot cycles. A variety of theories have been put forward that are largely based on accepted physical mechanisms such as tides. See for example this threat on BAUT http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainstream/72665-explaining-planetary-alignments-relationship-sunspot-cycle.html which gives a method based on GR and mentions 3 other proposals which have all appeared in peer reviewed journals.

    b. Just one simple observation that really cannot be explained any other way. The proposal that J-V-E syzygies explain the 11.08 year average sunspot cycle period directly leads the the prediction that the solar cycle length should be bimodal with peaks at 10.38 and 12.00 years. This predicted distribution is found to be correct. Explain that some other way I dare you.

    c. Solar output of many types (heat, light, radio, x-rays, neutrinos, solar wind etc) are all found to have variations with the sunspot cycle. Climate, weather, life and everything that fluctuates on Earth is strongly influenced by solar variations which happen on scales from thousands of years down to rather short periods. That means that events on Earth are influenced by planetary alignments.

    d. The immediate solar e/m fluctuations are transmitted to Earth quite rapidly by the solar wind. This has immediate effects on the Schumann resonance (Earth’s e/m standing waves) which has a fundamental frequency around 7.7 Hz. That happens to be right in the middle of human brain wave frequencies. It is known that external e/m waves influence human behaviour. Furthermore, it has been found that, e.g. the number of wars fluctuates in 11 and 22 year cycles, in phase with sunspot cycles.

    5. “anyone telling you otherwise is selling something”. I am selling nothing, but I say that there are strong correlations between cycles in planetary motions, and cycles found in EVERY field of human study. See http://www.cyclesresearchinstitute.org/dewey/case_for_cycles.pdf if you are unaware of cycles being in everything. And if you want to know why the same cycles pervade everything from planetary motions to events on Earth, and to better understand how the whole Universe works, see my web site http://ray.tomes.biz especially http://ray.tomes.biz/maths.html

    Don’t debunk things that you haven’t studied and don’t understand. If you do, then you make a bigger contribution to misinformation than astrologers make.

  101. Bazmo

    Just a heads-up.

    Every time you write about astrology the advertising at the bottom of your post (in google reader) is selling tarot predictions or psychic readings.

    Oh the irony!

  102. Michael Kingsford Gray

    A Cox and Bull story?

  103. Foggy

    I just watched the last episode this week in the UK. Cox has obviously had the holiday of his life making the series, with beautiful pictures from all over the world. He is a good explainer of ideas, but overall the rate of information delivery is painfully slow to anyone who already knows anything about the subject. There is also a lot of padding, with many of the images being repeated in the same show, and in subsequent shows. Verdict: good, but not great.

  104. Naomi

    *raises hand* I giggled.

    Oh, and my Mum used to be an astrology nut (she’s moved away from that, thankfully, especially after I discussed it with her… at length). She’s had about… three or four formal, ten-page-plus birth charts drawn up for my brother and I, as well as herself. Not a SINGLE one fit any of us, and the longest one from the most ‘reputable’ astrologer was the least accurate of the lot.

    Let’s put it this way, it said I’d be a keen player of team sports (physical activity < being on the computer, and physical activity with masses of people is a massive no), that I'd be the life of the party (I strongly dislike crowds, strangers, alcohol, and loud music), that I'd have a healthy social life (…does a healthy ONLINE social life count?), and, weirdly enough, that'd I'd have had a few boyfriends by the time I was in my mid-teens. …Which, um, isn't correct.

    Oh – it also decided to know what my previous reincarnation was (a charismatic male politician in the States in the mid-twentieth century, giving details of 'my' life, career, personality, and even wife). Seriously, astrologers are claiming they can tell all the details of your PAST LIVES from arbitrary patterns in the sky? They can't just randomly make that up! It's the job of the past life regressionists to randomly make that up!

  105. Johnny B Good

    Lets honnestly give to astrologers the credit they deserves:

    A) They were the first to observe the sky, the universe, stars and planets trying to make sense out of it. They acquired data over phenomenons in the sky that was later helpfull to scientists to understand and predict comets and discover supernovaes. It is the obscure seed out of which arose our modern astronomy, whether we like it or not.

    B) They kind of managed to achieve predicting the future, so far as their ephemerids achieved predicting the future position of planets in the sky. And this was an incredible technological achievement over predicting anything out of spilling an animal’s bowels.

    C) They also managed to unknowillingly prove something medecine will only achieve much later, in the 20th century: the placebo effect. If you’re convinced you are taking effective medicine that will cure you from sickness, it may be enough in itself to cure you for real. To me, I have the deep conviction astrology is even more effective at driving you into the future you strongly believe you have. Though psychology calls it diffently: auto-suggestion.

    And D) well, cosmology tells us now that, yes indeed, the Earth is the center of our universe. The observable one, that is. But I’ll put that one on the account of sheer luck here. ;)

    Out of curiosity and amusement, I had my chart done in my 30s. It predicted a totally incredible future for me in my 40s. Now in my 50s, I can tell you it was a complete FAIL on astrology’s part. I did OK but still lost a pretty good job right in my 40th year. So, Jupiter in conjunction with the Sun in the tenth house is kind of over-rated, if you ask me. :P

  106. Kaden

    @Johnny B Goode…regarding your job loss around your 40th year. Whether you are looking at that time period as a therapist, anthropologist, physician, or astrologer…one would say that was a mid-life issue and a good time to reassess your life and make the proper choices on how to proceed. It just happened to be in the zone of your Uranus opposition.

    Brian Cox’ natal Uranus is 27VIR47′. At the time of this ‘issue’ transiting Uranus was at 27PIS41′ from an Earth-based perspective. An EXACT opposition.

    It is a chuckle if nothing else that this comes up exactly on what astrology texts consider one of the most prominent disharmonious alignments.

    Those same texts would say it is a good time to evaluate where you’ve been and where you want to go. Brian’s almost immediate Tweet was “Can anybody arrange for my birthchart to be tweeted to me so I can see where I’m going wrong?”

    This is so classic it should actually be framed.

  107. Jeff

    I noticed no astrology supporters could answer my challenge #99 . Huh? If astrology were really a science, they’d be coming out of the woodwork to answer in spades.

    Conclusion, astrology isn’t science. All they can do is throw the burden of proving them wrong back onto scientists, which anyone who understands science ( I taught it 30 years, I think I know a thing or two about it) knows is a transparent ad hoc hail mary pass.

    Gee, I think I’m going to invent a field of my own today, I’ll pull it out of my cabasa
    “mercury healing” . I assert that either the element Mercury or bowing once a night the next week to the planet Mercury, will have a good effect on people’s health. My proof: easy, I feel great all week; and this week I did look at the planet and my students broke two mercury thermometers in the lab and I cleaned it up. Now, what are you doubters going to have to say to that to prove me wrong????

  108. Kaden

    @Jeff … I’ve read ‘scientists’ saying astrology is NOT a science. I have not read any ‘astrologers’ saying astrology IS a science. They will say astrology USES parts of science, math and harmonics.

    I think of it more like cooking. The astrology most people are exposed to are like vending machines and fast-food drive thru’s. These same people want to tell you about a meal prepared by a well-trained private chef working directly with you to give you exactly what you want — from their completely different dining experience. That better chef will use some science and math to get certain things to work, the rest is an art.

    Sadly, it seems to be a topic that drags out fangs on some…even those who may easily agree with profiling label tests like the Meyers-Briggs or Ennegrams. The testing results for these, however, create a tighter scatter pattern since there are fewer ‘options’ than offered by astrological archetype combinations.

    You can’t talk astrology without talking archetypes, which is a long way from the physics-end of science where everyone keeps trying to take the subject rather than the consciousness/neurology/biochem end.

  109. Rob

    @111. Kaden

    Nice way of fitting the data to fit after the fact. You also probably believe in Nostradamus, too. Given enough time, almost any prediction can come true.

    You’ve got to be kidding, right? This is the same argument used time and again by astrologers where science cannot not be used to prove or disprove astrology. They don’t refer to it being a science, but for it to work it would have to be a science. For repeatable results you require a certain set of rules to follow, such that each time the same data is used following these rules it would produce the same result. It doesn’t. The results are very subjective and depend upon the person doing the reading.

    Art isn’t science, though one may use some science and maths to create it. But art is very subjective and dependent on the person creating it; their mood, character and experiences affect their work. The same with astrologers, their biases and past experiences (not past life hooey) affect how they interpret the data. If astrology is accurate then multiple astrologers must be able to create the same reading using the same set of data. If astrologers can’t agree amongst themselves which reading is accurate how can it ever be true?

  110. Dr. Rocketscience

    Alright, Ray, I’ll take a crack:

    1. The completely accurate refers to the statement “astrology is a load of rubbish”. My only disagreement here is with the word “completely”. A correct statement would be “astrology is very largely a load of rubbish”. Call it a minor quibble, but it is important.

    Please point out the aspects of astrology that aren’t rubbish.

    2. “Astrology has no mechanism” is an argument that I often hear about various alternative theories of all kinds. The Universe does not have a mechanism, it just is. The mechanism is in the mind of the scientist. It exists after the scientist makes a model. It was Newton’s view that gravitation had no mechanism. Did that mean that it didn’t happen? No indeed it did not. Bad argument. Bad logic. If you want to debunk things, your logic needs to be impeccable.

    The Universe has a great many mechanisms. Ironically, gravity is one of them. Quantum mechanics is another. Also, please don’t confuse “the mechanism is not well understood” with “no mechanism exists”. Sir Isaac Newton was a tremendously clever man, but he was not right about everything (see: the perihelion motion of Mercury).

    3. “Astrology has … no predictability” is a statement that is pretty accurate on the whole. That does not mean that it is universally true… However there have been some people who did original and valid scientific astrology that does make testable predictions, such as the Gauquelins.

    What the Gauquelins found was a correlation, which does not imply causation. They also made some broad statements about the position of Mars, which to me smacks of data-fitting.

    4. “Astrology has … no physical way of working” is bad logic and shows no understanding of the scientific method. First comes correlation and eventually a model which is called “mechanism” or “physical way of working”. If correlation exists (which must be proven) then there is something real that needs explanation.

    Oh, so you do understand correlation/causation. Sort of – correlation still doesn’t necessarily lead to causation.

    However, even ignoring that error, it is just plain wrong that there is no way for astrology to work. There are any number of ways. What I put here is the tip of the iceberg only:

    At this point, you spend a while on a possible causal mechanism for the solar activity cycle, involving tidal forces on the sun due to the planets. All very interesting, and possibly even correct. (Though I would not that the line “Explain that some other way I dare you” was darn near a violation of Wheaton’s Law.) But then you go right back to correlation: sunspots and wars, taking that frequency issue as a given. You don’t get to do that. If you want to propose a causal mechanism, a casual relationship, your going to have to demonstrate causality at every step along the way.

    I am selling nothing…

    Oh really?

    …to better understand how the whole Universe works, see my web site…

    Uh-huh.

  111. Jeff

    @ray:

    “Planetary alignments are known to be strongly correlated with sunspot cycles. A variety of theories have been put forward that are largely based on accepted physical mechanisms such as tides. See for example this threat on BAUT http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainstream/72665-explaining-planetary-alignments-relationship-sunspot-cycle.html which gives a method based on GR and mentions 3 other proposals which have all appeared in peer reviewed journals.”

    no one is buying this, and saying they are strongly correlated is ridiculous. This is not what I mean by a lawlike statement such as newton’s laws. These correlations are so convoluted as to be meaningless. I could randomly find a correlation between anything by cherry picking.

    “b. Just one simple observation that really cannot be explained any other way. The proposal that J-V-E syzygies explain the 11.08 year average sunspot cycle period directly leads the the prediction that the solar cycle length should be bimodal with peaks at 10.38 and 12.00 years. This predicted distribution is found to be correct. Explain that some other way I dare you.”

    see, putting the burden of proving you wrong back onto science, that is what you are doing here. (assuming this distribution is statistically meaningful, I doubt it).

    “c. Solar output of many types (heat, light, radio, x-rays, neutrinos, solar wind etc) are all found to have variations with the sunspot cycle. Climate, weather, life and everything that fluctuates on Earth is strongly influenced by solar variations which happen on scales from thousands of years down to rather short periods. That means that events on Earth are influenced by planetary alignments.”

    Yes, I’ll give you this: solar cycles do have effects here on earth. That isn’t the point, the point is, it has nothing to do with planetary alignments, but complex electrodynamics going on within the sun. Just because everything isn’t known in science doesn’t mean that there isn’t a scientific explanation. Science is learning new things all the time.

    “d. The immediate solar e/m fluctuations are transmitted to Earth quite rapidly by the solar wind. This has immediate effects on the Schumann resonance (Earth’s e/m standing waves) which has a fundamental frequency around 7.7 Hz. That happens to be right in the middle of human brain wave frequencies. It is known that external e/m waves influence human behaviour. Furthermore, it has been found that, e.g. the number of wars fluctuates in 11 and 22 year cycles, in phase with sunspot cycles.”

    I disagree that science thinks external e/m waves influence human behavoir.

    “5. “anyone telling you otherwise is selling something”. I am selling nothing, but I say that there are strong correlations between cycles in planetary motions, and cycles found in EVERY field of human study. See http://www.cyclesresearchinstitute.org/dewey/case_for_cycles.pdf if you are unaware of cycles being in everything. And if you want to know why the same cycles pervade everything from planetary motions to events on Earth, and to better understand how the whole Universe works, see my web site http://ray.tomes.biz especially http://ray.tomes.biz/maths.html

    now you’re just broadening the argument to EVERY field of human study! you must know that is a hopelessly ambition goal.

    you haven’t satisfactorly answered my challenge #99 my friend. And it’s easy for me to say that, because astrology is just plain not science.

  112. “Astrology doesn’t work, and anyone telling you otherwise is selling something.”

    …and there’s the bottom line. Unfortunately there are plenty of gullible people who are willing to buy BS.

  113. XPT

    Am I the only one not getting all wet about prof Cox? I’ve seen a number of his documentaries and it seems to me that he gets a lot of camera time. I want to watch amazing sequences about the universe, not his ever-smiling face.

    And by the way, what about when he says that auroras don’t make him wonder about the earth’s magnetic field, but fantasize about spirits going to heaven? Phil Plait could teach him a lot about what’s amazing just the way it is.

    Oh and of course he’s right about astrology. A fifth grader is qualified to disprove that pile of rubbish.

  114. Sticks

    As predicted if you look at the facebook group page, the BBC has caved in and issued an apology.

    Don’t expect Brian Cox to do anymore programmes until he has recanted or expect the that comment to be in tghe DVD when it is released.

  115. Dr.Y.V.SUBBA RAO,Ph.D,FIE

    I read all the comments on Astrology. They are just rubbish. One cannot dismiss materia medica with a quack administering pills or judge the legal acumen with a person sitting under the tree pronouncing judgments. The comments about Vedic Astrology are similar.. No doubt these comments are attracted by the practices of self-styled professors of Astrology. Vedic Astrology is an imortant organ of the Vedas. The genesis of Vedic Astrology is amazingly cent per cent Astronomy. As a Mining Engineer having studied Astronomy and also possessing a thorough knowledge of Vedic Astrology, I researched over five decades and developed a Power Point on the ‘Genesis and Methodology of Vedic Astrology’ for the East and the West. If BBC cares to afford me an opportunity to present my findings to the world public for the first time, and BBC would be lifted from the humiliating apology it was forced to issue in Brian Cox programmes. Lastly I wish to state I am not selling something.

  116. Darth Robo

    Brian Cox upsets astrologers.

    BWA HAAA HAAAAAAAAAA!!!

    Well I watched the series and enjoyed it. Especially the part where he said “astrology, which is just rubbish!” I’m not too surprised if the BBC offers an apology over this in this day and age. But one has to wonder if they would do the same for complaints from Flat-Earthers or geocentrists.

  117. malcolm d cross

    im 62 and have worked with the public all my life , i had as part of my work knowledge of the clients d.o.b.
    as i was studying astrology since a teenager i was able to see that in all cases people are like their charts
    but its not easy to produce a simple [proof]

    unless people are prepared to give the subject some seriouse study , i have seen many predictions come about by my colleagues many in the press and magezines ,
    recessions like this one as well as the late eighties/early ninties one that i was in the the newspaper with in 88 -i still have the paper .
    the proof is in the pudding as they say but you have to give it some seriouse timeand join a group , Hitlers chart is a lot of fun as you can imagine -its facinating stuff .

  118. Mikel

    Let’s see, malcom. You say astrology predicted recessions? Hmm…did you or anyone associated with astrology take advantage of that and make a bundle? No?

    Didn’t think so.

    Astrology is bull. LOL

  119. Jim Ernst

    Quick question. Do astrologers ask for more than Date/Time/Location of birth? I ask because my twin daughters were born in the same minute (via c-section). Is there some other “standard” piece of information that they use? How can their VERY different personalities be justified?

    I did move closer to my wife just after the first was born, so perhaps my gravitational field messed with something?

  120. Leon

    I guess we always knew astrologers suck cox… (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

  121. anna

    you say youve studued astrology,how long for ,to try to explain all of astrology, is like saying describe medicine ,its not possible ,you have to know and understand all the syndomres individually.
    there is a saying ,for those who know,no explanation is necesary,for those who dont ,no explanation will suffice.
    what are your birth details ,so they can be scutinized ,i bet you wont dare, as you enjoy attacking something you dont understand,that is what sociopaths do ,as they feel deeply powerless inside ,not realy knowing who they are ,warts and all, they dont dare look at their shadow side ,which everyone has ,consisting of dark and light,which makes the whole person, when you know your dark side ,you admit it and dont use it ,those who dont, just blindly react in darkness ,abuse power and put others down, in a vain attempt, to raise thenselves up,its very sad really.
    if you did really study astrology you would know that.

  122. Nigel Depledge

    Anna (125) said:

    you say youve studued astrology,how long for ,to try to explain all of astrology, is like saying describe medicine ,its not possible ,you have to know and understand all the syndomres individually.
    there is a saying ,for those who know,no explanation is necesary,for those who dont ,no explanation will suffice.
    what are your birth details ,so they can be scutinized ,i bet you wont dare, as you enjoy attacking something you dont understand,that is what sociopaths do ,as they feel deeply powerless inside ,not realy knowing who they are ,warts and all, they dont dare look at their shadow side ,which everyone has ,consisting of dark and light,which makes the whole person, when you know your dark side ,you admit it and dont use it ,those who dont, just blindly react in darkness ,abuse power and put others down, in a vain attempt, to raise thenselves up,its very sad really.
    if you did really study astrology you would know that.

    It’s really very simple.

    Irrespective of how astrology is supposed to work, you can test its predictions. Whenever a rigorous etst of astrological predictions has been carried out, astrology has failed.

    In other words, astrology is either so vague as to be useless, or so inaccurate as to be useless.

    On top of that, there is no known force that can convey the supposed influence from the planets to individual people on Earth. Indeed, the only force that acts over such distances (gravity) affects all people on Earth to the same degree – it cannot distinguish a Scorpio from a Libra. Thus, astrology has no logical basis.

    Finally, irrespective of any arguments against astrology, the burden of proof is on the astrology community to demonstrate that they are working on a genuine phenomenon. Thus far, such proof has been sadly lacking.

  123. John Rushby

    You’re right, astrology is bull. It is a form of religion and no religion has any basis in fact or in logic.

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