The Problem With Astrology | Deep Dive

For thousands of years, astrology has fascinated millions and millions of people. The idea that the stars and planets could have an effect on our lives and personalities- and by exploring and learning about how they affect us we can make wiser decisions and understand ourselves better- is certainly very intriguing to many. Astrology flourished for hundreds of years in various different cultures like the Hindus, Mayans, Babylonians, and Chinese, who all studied the stars and created their own astrological systems over the centuries In the 17th century though, scientific discoveries like heliocentrism and other advances and astronomical understandings caused astrology’s popularity to decrease, and it only emerged with the rise of spirituality and things like newspaper horoscopes, astrology websites, and internet memes in recent decades While most people nowadays are just familiar with sun signs, astrology actually goes much deeper than that In fact, most astrologers are not huge fans of the BuzzFeed quizzes and Sunday newspapers representation of what astrology is, as they believe in a much more complex model of astrology that includes moon signs, rising signs, birth charts and much much more Tons of people have read their horoscopes or had their birth charts interpreted and found them to be eerily accurate, leading many to believe in the power of the cosmos. For those who think of astrology as something that’s just fun to do but don’t fully believe in it, astrology still offers emotional comfort and encourages self-reflection and examination. On the other hand, lots of people simply dismiss astrology as complete BS because we have no explanation of how the stars and planets could have the effects astrology claims they have and most of the astrological studies people know about have not been in favor of it. But what has interested to me for years, as someone who has never believed in astrology and has only started researching it recently, is whether or not there’s good evidence for astrological principles. Are the core concepts and intricate details rooted in strong scientific evidence or are there possibly other explanations for how so many people have found that astrology accurately describes their personality and life? In the past couple years I’ve started to question my beliefs much more critically which has made me interested in learning more about my beliefs and how and why I’ve come to the conclusions I have about them. Like I said, I’ve never believed in astrology because I’m a Capricorn and I’ve just never related to my sight at all… but I’ve also never really bothered to look into it that much and so I figured I’d give astrology a your trial by looking into it for this video, doing a lot of research, and sharing it with you in this deep dive I’ll only be talking about Western astrology because this video would be five hours long if I went into every different system. So going into this video, I honestly didn’t expect that my research would lead me to believe in astrology, but at the same time I was open to it. And that doesn’t make me close-minded… it’s like walking into a field and expecting that you probably won’t find a four-leaf clover but if you do find one you wouldn’t deny it. If I’m presented with good arguments for astrology or anything I’m happy to revise my belief or lack thereof. I want the beliefs I hold to align with reality- especially those that would affect my life lot- so I want to examine them closely. I hope this video can be used as reflection about our beliefs and methods we use to come to those beliefs and hopefully you can benefit from this video regardless of whether or not you believe in astrology or whether this video changes your overall opinion on the subject. What you believe and why you believe something are of course important but how you get to those beliefs I think is equally important and not something that we often think about So I think it’s best to start this video by talking about logic and epistemology, which is the study of knowledge, as well as standards evidence and the importance of the scientific method before getting into astrology even is. I don’t want to sound too pedantic but I do want to preface the deep dive by talking about things that maybe not everyone knows about but are kind of crucial to understanding the majority of the video. After that we’ll go over the basics and the more in-depth concepts of astrology for those who don’t know much about it, then look at the reasons my subscribers said they believe in astrology, and afterwards analyze my natal chart. Next we’ll return to arguments for, this time looking at ones based in science, then look at arguments against, and wrap it up with my conclusions. Just know I have no goal to prove or disprove astrology in this video, my intent is just to look at the evidence and determine whether or not I think there is good reason and that it is rational to believe in astrology. So when I decided to make this, I made a post in my community tab asking people why they believed in astrology so I could see what the most predominant reasons were, and through that I learned that some people don’t really understand what a belief is so I think it’s best to start by defining tha.t According to Wikipedia, (which I’ll be using for a lot of definitions in this video but I promise my research goes deeper than Wikipedia, and all my sources will be listed down below) “belief is the attitude that something is the case or true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term belief to refer to personal attitudes associated with true or false ideas and concepts.” So in the community post, a few people felt that because they thought that astrology was true and that there was evidence for it, that therefore it was not a belief- it was just a knowledge, a fact, just something that exists. But

an idea or statement does not need to be false or unproven in order for somebody to believe in it, people can believe in true and proven things. Someone who believes in astrology is convinced it is real. Someone who does not believe in astrology is not convinced it’s real. Now to be clear, that’s not the same as believing that astrology is not real or being convinced that it’s not real. A lack of belief differs from a claim of something being false in that it’s just a rejection of a claim, it’s not an assertion of a new opposing one. But back to believing in true things- I believe that 2+2=4 That’s something that’s objectively true and I simultaneously believe in it. In math we can be absolutely certain of things because if you think back to the most torturous part of high school geometry, we have mathematical proofs. In science on the other hand, we cannot be absolutely certain of anything, technically not even that the sun exists Instead, we develop scientific theories using the scientific method because that has shown itself to be the most accurate way of understanding the universe that we have come across so far. We’ve not found any other methods such as intuition or psychics that has proven itself to be as good or better. Some people are not very trusting of science which leads them to not really care about what scientific conclusions have to say, but I think the more you understand how science works, the more you’ll realize how important it is. Given that, according to the National Science Foundation, “most Americans had difficulty describing what makes something scientific,” it’s not surprising that people would distrust something they don’t understand. I’m not going to go into depth about what is and isn’t scientific but I think for someone to value scientific conclusions, they have to understand how science comes to those conclusions. So a very simplified outline of the scientific method looks like this: define a question; gather information and resources; form an explanatory hypothesis; test the hypothesis by performing an experiment and collecting data in a reproducible manner; analyze the data; interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis; publish results; retest, which is frequently done by other scientists Science has not been right about everything. The scientific community can come to a consensus on something and be incorrect But without using the scientific method, it’s much more likely for a person or group of people to come to an incorrect conclusion because they might not have the knowledge or expertise to see possible flaws in their thinking or experimentation. And science is able to adapt to new findings, changes theories based on new evidence- which is good. With advancements in technology, we’re able to learn so much more about the universe which can change previous understandings of it so they’re based on more accurate data and results. But like I said, science makes no claims of absolute certainty, it only proposes theories. “A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaluation of results.” Ao a theory in the scientific sense is completely different from somebody saying, “oh I have a theory on why he didn’t text me back.” It’s about as close to 100% certainty as science gets. But when we don’t know how to do research, don’t know what good standards of evidence look like, or draw conclusions based on feelings or intuition, it’s very easy to make mistakes that lead us to conclusions that are based in fallacious reasoning. When this happens, we may see our reasoning as very good but in reality it’s actually flawed. This is why learning about logical fallacies can be really useful if you’re interested in investigating your beliefs and it also can just be kind of fun and eye-opening to learn about them. So a fallacy is “the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning in the construction of an argument.” In relation to this video an argument could be, “astrology is true because of this reason” and through examining what that reason is, it’s possible to find that the argument might be invalid or not sound In philosophy, in order for a conclusion to be true all of the premises, which are statements “that an argument claims will induce or justify conclusion” must be both valid and sound. Now we don’t typically talk like we’re on a debate team and have conversations with outright premises and conclusions, but the following video does a really good job of explaining what validity and soundness are. “an argument is valid if it is impossible for all of the premises to be true while its conclusion is false For example, the following is a valid argument. Premise 1: all cats are purple Premise 2: everything that is purple is a person. Conclusion: therefore all cats are people. This argument is valid because it is impossible for the premises to be true while the conclusion is false. Of course not all cats are purple and not all purple things are people, so even

though this argument is valid, it’s not really informative. It does not establish the truth of its conclusion since the premises are obviously false. In order to be sound, an argument must meet two requirements. First, the argument must be valid. All invalid arguments are unsound Second, the premises of the argument must all be true. Any argument that has even a single false premise is unsound.” This is important to know because it helps with our understanding of what makes an argument fallacious. And for perspective, two types of fallacious arguments that I’m sure most people have heard of are cherry-picking and ad hominem attacks. Something to note is that when a fallacy used to argue a point, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the conclusion is false, it just means that you can’t logically reach that conclusion with that argument. For example if I say the earth is round because people have believed the earth is round for a long time, that’s an appeal to tradition fallacy but that doesn’t mean that the earth isn’t round, it just means that people believing the earth is round for a long time is not a logical path to the conclusion that the earth is round. So throughout this video I will be pointing out fallacies so we can distinguish between good and bad arguments for astrology. And I’ll also point out some cognitive biases which are “systemic patterns of deviation from norm or rationality and judgment.” We all have biases- myself included- and recognizing them can help us understand when and how our judgment may be impaired and leading us to conclusions that are irrational One problem I’m not sure how to counter is the recent rise of truth relativism mainly in New Age spirituality- meaning that certain people who believe in astrology might believe in relativistic truths. “Truth relativism is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference.” They believe that if someone believes in something, then it is true. To a relativist, 2+2 could equal 5 as long as someone believes it does. And it can simultaneously equal 3 as long as somebody else believes it does. There’s no distinction between real truth and “personal truth”. All “personal truths” and beliefs are true. This makes it impossible for them to believe that they’re wrong which can be very dangerous and I’m sure anyone who doesn’t believe in it thinks it’s ridiculous so I don’t need to explain it further. But for anyone who does believe in it, unfortunately I don’t think you’re gonna get anything from this video so save yourself some time because this is gonna be a long. So what is astrology? “Astrology consists of a number of belief systems that hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events or descriptions of personality in the human world.” Three different types of astrological practices are: forecasts, otherwise known as horoscopes. For example, “this month an opportunity period begins lasting until October 4 for your relationships and your sense of adventure and discovery.” Delineations aka charts. “Canerians are sensitive and emotional.” And synastry, also called compatibility. “Aries and Leo is an icy hot combination full of adventure and fun.” For this video we’ll mainly be focusing on charts because compatibility is based on two people’s charts and horoscopes tend to be less valued by people who are very into astrology. To the average person that doesn’t really know much about astrology, they may think that it consists of no more than sun signs, also called zodiac signs or star signs, and that it proposes that there are basically only twelve types of people in this world. nNow while this is the common view of astrology, it’s not at all true. Those who have looked into the deeper parts of astrology will be familiar with birth charts, also called natal charts, which are a map of a solar system at a person’s time of birth Interestingly, natal charts can also be applied to other animals, as well as nonliving things like nations, companies, or ideas. These charts look at much more than just sun signs. They include planets, the moon, houses, aspects, orbs, and other things that will all be explained in a bit. So let’s get into the details of astrology. There are twelve signs which are based on twelve constellations “Constellations are groups of stars that form an imaginary outline or pattern in the sky.” The constellations that are relevant to astrology reside in the zodiac which is “an area of the sky that extends approximately eight degrees north and eight degrees south of the ecliptic.” The ecliptic is “the astronomical circle that represents the apparent movement of the sun in the sky relative to our position on earth.” So the constellations that cross over the ecliptic are the ones that are part of the zodiac. The path of the moon and the planets are all entirely within the eight degrees north and south which is why that sixteen degree area, often called the belt of the zodiac, is significant in astrology. The zodiac signs are not based exactly on the constellations because the constellations all vary in size Instead, according to skyscript, “the zodiac is divided into twelve equal parts because the amount of days in a year- 365-

not easily divisible and 360- the amount of degrees in a circle- is a closest number to it that is.” So 360 can easily be divided into 12 equal parts for the 12 constellations for approximately 30 days in each 30 degree zodiac. On the other hand astrologers.com says the 12 zodiacs were derived from the 12 lunar cycles that occur in the earth completing one revolution around the Sun. And others say that they’re based on the fact that the Sun travels approximately 30 degrees in a month. Whatever the case the 12 signs are each 30 degrees sectors of the zodiac. So your Sun Sign is determined by where the earth was in relation to the Sun when you were born and your moon sign is where the earth was relation to the moon when you’re born. If you could look up at the Sun and the moon at the exact time of your birth the constellations that are behind them from our perspective on earth- or the constellations that they’re in- are your Sun and Moon signs Well not actually.. not in the popular Western version of astrology called tropical astrology at least. When I was writing this script it was around 1:50 p.m. CT March 13th, 2020. According to Lunarium.co.uk, a person born at this time in place would have the moon sign Scorpio. But if we look at staratlas.com, we can see that at this time on this day in this time zone, the moon is actually in the constellation Virgo. aAnother example is that I was born on July 4th, 2000 which makes my son sign Cancer.. tricked ya earlier by saying as a Capricorn But on the day I was born, the Sun was actually in the constellation Gemini This is due to something called axial precession or procession of equinoxes “Axial precession is a gravity induced slow and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body’s rotational axis.” So we know that earth makes one full rotation on its axis every 24 hours and that it makes one full revolution around the Sun every 365 days as well as that its degree of tilt fluctuates throughout the year creating the seasons. wWhat also happens is that Earth’s rotational axis slowly gyrates and makes one full rotation every 25,772 years Because of this the visible zodiac will differ from tropical astrology’s view of it by one more degree every 72 years which is why I was born when the Sun was in the constellation Gemini not cancer- even though if I was born a couple thousand years ago on the same day the Sun would have been in cancer. but when the idea of astrology was first before word people didn’t know about perception even now that it is known tropical astrology still doesn’t take it into account sky script says allowing the starting point of the zodiac to slip backwards against the framework of visible constellations is an astronomical necessity for keeping the zodiac aligned to the seasons so the zodiac Aries remains associated with the temporal qualities of spring denoting growth and high energy etc whilst Capricorn retains association with midwinter and so signifies the qualities of preservation and reserve so essentially what they’re saying is that if tropical astrology took procession into account would have to restructure many of the basic qualities of each sign in association to which season they would now occur in. a problem i see with this is that this type of astrology is very northern-centric. about 90% of the world’s population does live in the northern hemisphere but while in Aries born in the north is supposed to have qualities associated with spring, so is an Aries born in the South, except its fall there, not spring. so I’m not sure why the seasons in the north are so important that procession is completely rejected as having an influence on the signs. while tropical astrology does not correspond to the visible zodiac, sidereal astrology does take precession into account. astrology.co.uk says both tropical and sidereal astrology are accurate and valid. so in tropical astrology the signs don’t line up with the constellations so the constellations don’t seem to be super important but rather are just how the zodiacal signs were named from my understanding. when it comes to sidereal astrology, the constellations are relevant but this raises another problem from my point of view. the creation of the constellations is kind of like drawing lines in-between the freckles on your body to form a shape that loosely resembles anything. someone else could take three of the freckles used in your drawing and connect them to other ones that you didn’t use and create a whole new shape and interpret it to look like something else. stars in constellations form arbitrary shapes from our perspective on earth. in reality these stars have nothing in common that makes them different from another arbitrary set of stars. like I previously mentioned, the twelve constellations used in astrology are the ones that exists in the eight degrees north and south of the ecliptic which makes up the belt of the zodiac except there is one constellation that is almost never counted as a sign but does cross the ecliptic and that is Ophiucus. some systems included but most don’t because a large portion of it resides outside the zodiac belt while

the other twelve constellations are mostly or completely in the zodiac. other than that, which stars were chosen to be in the constellations was not scientific back in the day people didn’t know that within constellations there are stars that are hundreds of light-years away from each other. take a look at star atlas again. if we look at the constellation of Taurus this star is 66 light-years away from Earth while this one is 445 light-years away from Earth those stars are hundreds of light-years away from each other- a light-year being the amount of time it takes light to travel in one year- so why would they be any more connected to each other than any other random star in another nearby constellation? the constellations probably seemed two-dimensional to people long ago and significant because they believed in geocentrism, making them think the earth was the center of the universe. but from another point in our galaxy, they would look completely different. the constellations have also changed over time. some changed in shape or size, some became more or less popular, some stayed within a single culture or nation while the 88 that are currently recognized internationally we’re not always as widely accepted. many, many millennia from now the constellations will look nothing like they did when they were first created because each star has their own independent motion that will change its position in the sky from our perspective on earth. so while the zodiac was at least inspired by the constellations, tropical astrology doesn’t place as much value on a sidereal and instead places more value on the seasons, solstices, and equinoxes. when it comes to the deeper parts of both tropical and sidereal astrology though, not as much emphasis is placed on the constellations and instead, the focus turns more towards the planets and other celestial bodies within our solar system. this is where rising sings, aspects, houses, and orbs come in. the rising or ascendant sign is considered very important and is the sign that is rising on the eastern horizon at a person’s time and place of birth. there are 12 signs and 24 hours in the day, so each sign is ascended for two hours moon signs are also concerned very important and according to some are even more influential in a person’s life during adolescence than a Sun Sign is aspects are a big part of what makes up a natal chart. according to astrologyclub.org, the aspects are the lines drawn between the planets, differing in their angles. these aspects correspond to the internal relationship of the zodiac signs, and are arrived at by certain divisions of the 360° that makes up the entire zodiac circle so the angles are formed by drawing lines between earth in the center and two planets or other celestial bodies along the circle. here’s a chart that shows the names and agrees of each aspect.note that some are much more commonly used than others. so two planets close to each other like this would mean they are in conjunction with each other while two planets in opposition would mean that they’re about as far away from each other as they can get. of course all the planets aren’t in the same orbit in outer space, but if I’m not mistaken this is just kind of a simplified representation of our view of the plans from Earth and their relation to where they are in the zodiac. the significance in these lines and the characteristics of the planets and how they interact and affect us based on what aspect they’re in at a certain time. some aspects are considered soft and some are considered hard based on their influence. astrostyle says if love planet venus and communication planet mercury are forming a soft (or easy) aspect with each other they might blend their powers, helping you have a productive conversation with your love interest or open up about an attraction. but if Venus and Mercury are forming a hard (or difficult) aspect lovers can argue or struggle to understand each other. along with aspects come orbs. according to astrolibrary, an allowable orb is the amount by which the two planets involved can deviate from the exact number of degrees of the aspect and still be considered to have an aspect influence most astrologers use an allowable orb of only six degrees for major aspects and two or three for the minor aspects however, the allowable orb is increased to 10 degrees or 8 degrees if it includes the Sun or moon. this is a matter of preference, but in fact the smaller the orb, the more significant the aspect is, with orbs of less than one degree being the most potent aspect influences. so looking back at this chart two planets do not have to form exactly a 180 degree angle with the earth to be an opposition. they could form a 177 degree angle and still be in the same aspect. astrologyresearchjournal.org says, regrettably there has been no statistical research in this area. orb size can vary with circumstances and even with the astrologer. and then there are houses, which astrotheme says indicate how the person functions, whether in his interactions with other people, his work, or his love affairs, etc. as with the

twelve zodiacal signs, there are twelve astrological houses and each house is an analogy with one of the signs. however, contrary designs, which spread invariably over thirty degrees of the zodiacal circle, house signs may greatly vary from one house to another. they’re based on exact time and location of birth rather than dates. they also say the cutting of the chart into twelve houses referred to as a “house system” varies from one astrologer to another. they don’t agree on which house system is most accurate and therefore houses depend on each individual’s reading and interpretation of a chart. but nevertheless, signs, houses, aspects, and orbs are all things that according to astrology, describe the movements and characteristics of the planets and how they influence who we are and what our lives look like based on our time and location of birth. but where do these things come from? how did people originally learn about these influences and their causes? there are five prevailing theories about the origins of astronomical ideas. number one- the planetary connections were revealed to the ancients by a higher intelligence, for example by Gods, angels, demons, or extraterrestrials. I’m not religious so I don’t believe in Gods, angels, or demons, but even if they do exist I personally find it hard to believe that they were in cahoots with the ancient people because I feel like if they were they would have told them a little bit more like maybe they would have let them know that the Sun was in fact the center of the solar system- not the earth. and I’m not sure how, if extraterrestrials exist, they would know how the planets and stars affect our planet since I would assume the effects would be different based on what planet you’re on and especially if you’re from another solar system or galaxy, but assuming their intelligence was just very advanced, you’d think they would have told them about Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto- but we didn’t discover those until just a couple hundred years ago number two- the early astrologers acquired this information about planets and personality by paranormal means. from what I’ve seen, paranormal is likely referring to ESP- or extrasensory perception- which is basically like psychic abilities and there are currently many astrologers who do claim to use ESP. but it hasn’t been established whether or not ESP actually exists or not so it would be hard to determine if that’s a plausible explanation ESP isn’t something I’ve really looked into much but is something I would like to in the future and perhaps make a video on because I have had experiences in my life that could be classified as premonitions, but at the same time I don’t believe in psychic abilities. so it’s something I’d be interested learning more about. number three- the planetary connections arose by analogy with the planets appearance and speed if astrology is completely unscientific and made-up I think this is a very plausible explanation for at least how part of it was created. but if it’s not made-up I’m not sure how the appearance of planets could affect us, although I guess it is probably possible the speeds could, depending on what the mechanism of astrology would be, which we’ll go into a tiny bit. number four- the planetary connections are based on observation this out of the five is the most scientific in my opinion. a large collection of observations over a long period of time could possibly lead to pretty accurate results but correlation does not imply causation. even if ancient people saw similar traits in people with Taurus as a moon sign repeatedly, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there are astrological influences involved. we’ll go more into this when we look at my natal chart in a bit. and lastly number five- the theory that the planets were symbols of the gods and had the same terrestrial effects as their namesakes led to testable pairings of planets and gods. again it’s kind of goes back to the first one and the gods they’re referring to are from greek mythology which i don’t think anyone really believes in nowadays. but if the gods we now know are not as non existent played a role in the creation of astrology, it’s unlikely that it would be very scientific or factual. while the origin of astrology will likely remain unknown forever, it is possible that we want may one day discover the mechanism of astrology, that is of course if it’s real. some people refuse to even consider astrology because we don’t know how it could work, but just because we don’t know how something works doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. we didn’t know how thunder and lightning worked at one time- but they still worked even before we understood their mechanism. but when a proposed mechanism for astrology or anything else may require an entire new understanding of physics or just the way way the world works in general, it’s definitely something that should be studied extensively before making any determinations. so let’s take a look at the prevailing suggested mechanisms for astrology, put forward by astrologers first is gravitational resonance, also called orbital resonance, which occurs when orbiting bodies exert regular periodic gravitational influences on each other so my understanding of this is that the gravitational influences of other celestial bodies on us are a possible mechanism and I think this is generally

kind of the most well known mechanism that a lot people believe in or at least know about. number two- the geomagnetic field. dr. Percy Seymour developed a model whereby the tidal tugs of the planets, Moon, and Sun affect the magnetosphere of the earth which in turn affects the human neural network. this one is interesting to me because astrology doesn’t often try to explain how celestial bodies could affect us in a neurological way specifically, so while it’s just a hypothesis now I think it would be certainly interesting to see more research done into this. number three is synchronicity, which is a concept first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which hold that events are meaningful coincidences if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related. it’s important to note that synchronicity is not remotely scientific because it’s not testable nor is it falsifiable. a statement is falsifiable if some observation might show it to be false for example “all swans are white” is falsifiable because “here’s a Black Swan” shows it to be false. with synchronicity it cannot be tested and it cannot be falsified- or proven wrong- meaning it’s not really good explanation for anything lastly is quantum entanglement, which is a label for the observed physical phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles is generated, interact, or share spacial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the pair or group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, even when the particles are separated by large distance. so to simplify that, quantum entanglement is about atoms remaining interconnected even when they’re no longer near each other. I’m not really going to go into this because honestly any belief that hasn’t been explained by science yet tries to use quantum mechanics as an explanation but it’s just such a complex subject that I don’t think anyone who is in a quantum physicist can understand it. I know I certainly can’t and I’m not gonna pretend like I can. but there’s a lot of things that people claim it proves like, according to this site, life goes on in a parallel universe regardless of what happens to it in this one and I don’t think that’s been proven yet so I don’t think I don’t know if we necessarily be just talking about quantum stuff like it’s a plausible explanation for anything that doesn’t have any other explanation yet quantum theory is also very new and we still have a lot of unanswered questions about it. there’s not much else I can say on any of those things because obviously they’re just being put forward as possibilities, they haven’t been proven yet and I obviously don’t have expertise to prove or disprove them. so that’s a little history of astrology for those who aren’t familiar with it. I felt like this video would be pretty futile if I didn’t go through any of that and just talked about evidence for and against astrology so hopefully you’re not bored out of your mind yet. it could be said that there are four levels of astrological interest. those with a superficial interest account for 50% of people and are those who may just read about their Sun signs and enjoy the entertainment aspect of it. about 2% have some knowledge, have read their own charts, and use it for self-examination, while much less have deep involvement, calculate charts, and seek meaning in life through astrology. and a tiny percentage are involved in the scientific aspect and perform tests. now I have no clue where those numbers come from especially because they only add up to 52%, but I do think they loosely represent the amount of people in each interest level. none of those are of course better or worse than each other, but I just think it’s important to know that many people who are into astrology just kind of do it for fun. from my perspective those who responded to my inquiry for reasons about believing in astrology were likely in the first two groups. some people I could tell were people who just do it for fun. some I could tell had looked into it a lot and really studied it. some people just kind of like told me straight out how interested they were some I could tell from how offended they are that I didn’t believe in astrology and wanted to make a video on it. but I got a bunch of results though which I tallied all of them up. some people listed more than one reason so I included all the reasons each person listed in my total numbers and also grouped together responses that were very similar but weren’t exactly the same. the interest levels of those who responded being in the first two groups I think played a huge role in what kind of responses I got because honestly all the responses I got had some kind of flaw in their reasoning. I’m not trying to say that to make it seem like I think all these people are stupid, not at all. like I said at the beginning of the video, when we don’t know how to do research, don’t know what good standards evidence look like, or draw conclusions based on feelings or intuition, it’s very easy to make mistakes that lead us to conclusions that are based in fallacious reasoning if you haven’t ever learned about fallacies, it can sometimes be hard to notice when you’re making an argument that isn’t very good and if you’d like to learn about them I’ll have a list of fallacies- a link to it- in my sources. most of us don’t learn about fallacies in school though. we don’t learn about them from parents or friends. I’ve only been

aware of them for about a year or two before that, and before I started really analyzing and questioning my beliefs and learning about epistemology, I didn’t use good reasoning for a lot of the things that I believed in. and Im 100% sure that a couple years from now I’ll look back at right now and notice things that I have terrible reasoning for that I’m totally unaware of right now. (cue the comments from the anti vegans who think that’ll be about veganism, even though I’ve actually done a lot of research on that.) anyways let’s get into the reasons for believing in astrology based on my community post. the most common reason with 28 responses was: it’s an interesting or helpful tool, or it encourages introspection or action, or I don’t believe in it, it’s just fun. so some people don’t believe astrology works they just like reading horoscopes and charts for fun, that’s understandable some people also did believe in it but they seem to value the way it’s helped them with self reflection and introspection the most. I’m not sure if they mean they believe in it because it’s helped them or if it’s just something they value about it most. but believing in astrology because it’s helpful is kind of similar to like a wishful thinking fallacy, which is defined as being a decision that is made according to what might be pleasing to imagine, rather than according to evidence or reason. also just because someone or something offers advice does not mean it’s good advice and does not mean you should take it. it might not always be the best choice to follow what a horoscope tells you to do, sometimes you might be better off doing the opposite. sometimes you may be able to look back on what a previous horoscope said you should do and find that you did the opposite and it didn’t negatively affect you or anyone from what you could tell for example, people recommended that I get the AI-powered daily horoscope app “co-star”. I did and looked at my horoscope for the day before and it said today is not a good day to be selfless in the service of others. that day I had donated my cat’s bed to Humane Society which did not negatively affect my life or my cat’s life (he never used it) or anyone else’s life in any noticeable way. should I have not done that? according to the app, I guess I should have stayed at home. I also don’t think astrology claims that every single thing in a person’s natal chart will apply to them, so assuming that you do or don’t have a trait because it says so in your chart can lead to you making false assumptions about yourself, overestimating certain skills you have, or under estimating things that you may need to work on etc. anyone can give advice but you should not take everyone’s advice. the second most common response with 24 responses was that people have found truth in it and seen it provide accurate descriptions of oneself or others. there are even people who said that they’ve never known anyone to have their natal chart interpreted and not have it be accurate. we tend to hold personal testimony above statistical evidence, but if testimonies are accurate and explain what people believe they do, collecting and studying a large amount of them should lead to confirmation of those people’s beliefs. we should be able to study peoples similarities to their horoscopes and charts and we will look at some studies like that later on. when it comes to Sun signs, there are a lot of people who lie about their sign and when asked the person will say “oh I knew it” that may have happened to some you when I said I was Capricorn earlier, which I did because I had taken a bunch of (probably dumb) quizzes online, like “which sign are you” and I would always get Capricorn ..so I thought I’d try to trick some of you with that. but we’ll go over why this happens in detail when I go over my natal chart so I won’t talk about it here. those were the top two responses and the rest were a bit less popular. so the third with nine responses was: humans have been doing and studying astrology for a long time, or it was an ancient practice. like in my example of how we know the earth is round earlier, this is an appeal to tradition fallacy, which is a conclusion supported solely because it has long been held to be true. just because belief has been around for a long time doesn’t make it true. for example religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam have all been around for a long long time but I’m pretty sure nobody believes that all of them are true. in fact it would be kind of hard to because many of them contradict each other in many ways. the fourth with six responses was: there is more out there than we know, or I want to believe there is more out there or that there is a higher power, also the phrase “as above so below” was mentioned. when it comes to wanting there to be more out there or a higher power, this is understandable. many people feel comforted by that idea and I’m guessing no one was really saying that that was proof of astrology but rather that’s just personally something that led them to believe in it as for those who believe because of the unknown, just because we don’t know everything and something hasn’t been proven to not exist yet, doesn’t mean you have good reason for believing it does exist. this way of thinking leads us to approving too much fallacy, which is using a form of argument that if it were valid could be used to reach an additional invalid conclusion. for example, there is more out there than we

know, but that doesn’t mean there’s good reason for believing that fairies exist with the phrase as above, so below, we have no reason to believe that what happens on earth reflects what happens on the sky or vice versa. it’s such a vague statement that it’s probably not even something that could be tested.. and it’s basically just a catchy phrase. number five with five responses was: it just makes sense. if only life were that easy but just because something makes sense to one person, doesn’t mean it’s true because somebody else might think it doesn’t make sense, or somebody else might think the opposite makes sense this one is similar to a fallacy called argument from incredulity, “I cannot imagine how this could not be true, therefore it must be true” personal opinions do not determine truth. another with five responses was: the planets are big so their vibrations must affect us, or everything affects everything first of all, just because a person thinks that everything is interconnected, does not mean everything affects everything. the color of socks I wore yesterday did not have any effect on what time any of you went to bed last night. the kind of car you drive does not affect how I do my dishes. if everything was interconnected and therefore the celestial bodies affect us, astrology would have to do a lot of revision because there are estimated to be about one hexilion- which is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000- stars in the observable universe. astrology pays attention to a tiny, tiny amount just in the Milky Way galaxy. also what about the hundreds of thousands of asteroids in the asteroid belt that astrology doesn’t look at? now focusing on the planets, yes they’re big but just because something’s big doesn’t mean it necessarily has an effect on us and even if it does, it doesn’t mean it would have neurological effects or that the effects would be based on our time of birth. next with five responses: the moon affects the tides so it must or could influence me. I think it’s reasonable to look at the way the moon affects tides and think that it’s possible that it could affect us but possibilities aren’t proof. saying that it must affect us because it affects something else is just an assertion and another example of a proving too much fallacy. just because the moon, the closest astral body to earth, can affect the oceans tides does not mean that because our body is made up of about 60% water it must also be able to affect us. if it does affect the water in our body, that doesn’t mean that it or the planets -which are farther away- would affect our personalities because our personalities are not controlled by water movement. similarly, I have seen people talk about how lunar cycles affect menstruation. the period tracking app Clue conducted an analysis of over 7.5 million menstrual cycles and found no correlation between the lunar phases and the menstrual cycle or period start date. while periods do average around the same amount of time as a lunar cycle, which is 29.5 days, it’s normal for cycles to range from 24 days to 38 days, which makes it impossible for many women’s cycles to line up with the lunar cycle. also you would expect it to affect other animals in the same way but chimpanzees for example have average cycles of about 35 days. and the moons effects on earth do not imply that any planet would have the same or similar effects. next with four responses: it is inclusive to everyone/ not repressive or exclusive like religions or certain other spiritual practices someone also said that it’s big in the LGBTQ community for those reasons and that definitely makes a lot of sense. it seems like less and less people these days are interested in being a part of religions which shame them for who they are or what they choose to do with their lives. that’s one of the really good things about astrology- it doesn’t tell you what to do, it just kind of gives you advice and you don’t have to go confess to someone when you did something “bad”. similarly, also with four responses: it appeals to people who are spiritual but not religious, or ex religious people. again I totally understand and since New Age spirituality is pretty popular these days it makes sense that there are a lot of spiritual but not religious people who are into astrology. when it comes to ex religious people it can be really hard to leave a religion or change your views on theism which can lead a lot of people to search for meaning elsewhere, to me these two responses seem like reasons that people have found value in astrology rather than reasons that convince people astrology was true, but I figured I’d still leave them in there because that’s what people said. the last 4 only had one response each. first: we’re connected to plants so we must or could be connected to the Stars. I’m not sure in which way they meant that we’re connected to plants, if it’s through interconnectedness again, I kind of already went over that. it makes them not have to take accountability for actions I think it’s good to recognize that you’re using it for that purpose but I don’t think that’s something that’s very beneficial so hopefully your awareness of that means that you’re trying to learn how to take accountability for your actions and not use astrology as an excuse for things. the stars and planets are conscious and tell us stories. I don’t know what to say about that other than we don’t have any evidence for that we have no evidence that they’re

conscious, in fact I’m willing to bet we have evidence that they’re not. and lastly: science been proven wrong so we shouldn’t always trust it. for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s rational to believe in just anything. if science has proven or does prove astrology should we then be skeptical of it and not trust the scientists conclusion on it? I think likely when people say things like this, they have other reasons for believing in astrology. you know, we don’t believe that oceans don’t exist because science can be wrong because we likely have personal experience with oceans or even if we never been to one, we’ve seen pictures or have heard other people’s personal experiences. to many, personal testimonies and anecdotal evidence are very influential in what they believe, so it wouldn’t make sense if I didn’t talk about my personal experience with astrology in this video. my sun sign is cancer, which means I’m supposed to be sensitive, emotional, and moody I remember reading that on many different websites when I was younger making me think that it was pretty universal to all cancerians. I’m not any of those though. I’m perhaps too insensitive, I’m not very emotional about very many things- not that it’s bad to be emotional- I’m just not. and my mood doesn’t change that much, it doesn’t even change that much when i’m on my period. when I’m mad or sad, it only lasts for a couple minutes if someone’s birthday is close to the start or end dates for signs, which is called being on the cusp of two signs, it’s possible that that could affect the accuracy of their signs. but cancer goes from June 21st to July 22nd and I was born on July 4th so that shouldn’t be a problem for m.e but because of the inaccuracy of my sign, I never really had any interest in looking into astrology about a year ago, a subscriber emailed me and asked if she could do my birth chart so I sent over my information and asked her to just let me know what some of the things it said about me were and she didn’t really go into much detail but the things she told me were not accurate at all. when I made my community post about reasons for believing in astrology and said that I had never believed in it, many people told me that I needed to get my natal chart read and I responded by saying that I had had it read and it wasn’t accurate and one commenter said that I either must have had my birth time wrong or the person must have been an experienced because there’s “just no way” it couldn’t have been accurate. I know my birth time was correct but the girl who did it did say she was inexperienced. some have said you don’t need an astrologer to do a chart you can just go to a free website like cafeastrology, others have told me it must be a very reputable one with lots of experience- I don’t really know how to engage the reputability of astrologers… and I did look for ones around San Antonio- where I live- but they all cost a lot of money that I didn’t want to spend so I opted for Fiverr, which is like a freelancing website. I got a chart done by three different people: one from someone who doesn’t say anything about his experience level for $5, one from someone who has 20 years of experience for $25, and one from someone with 52 years of experience for $20 originally I was gonna compare the three but I realized that would take a long time to go through each one, so I mainly looked at the $20 one because I wouldn’t base this entire section of the video on the $5 one from the guy who doesn’t list his experience level and the $25 one was super short so I decided to go with the guy with most experience. what I did was read through the entire thing and isolated the specific traits that each sentence was describing and wrote them all in a Google Doc. for example, if the chart said Venus in cancer gives a sensitive and caring nature, very devoted and loyal, with emphasis on security I wrote down sensitive, caring, devoted, loyal, and emphasis on security all as different traits, in this chart interpretation there were 605 total traits listed, some of which were repeats, and once I had gone through the entire reading I went through and put each into one of six categories. the first category was for statements that I felt did apply to me based on my perception of myself or what others have told me- so were therefore “true”. the statements in this category could also not be Barnum statements. the Barnum effect, also called the forer effect, is a common psychological phenomenon whereby individuals give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically to them, that are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. Barnum statements can be roughly classified into four kinds of statements: vague- do not apply to a person specifically. double-headed- have words of opposite meanings in the same statement for example, at times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, weary, reserved. modal- true for a group of people. for example, fairness is important for you. and favorable- positive statements and desirable qualities. a lot of traits that astrology describes as belonging to people based on signs or aspects or houses are Barnum statements. they’re so vague and general that almost everyone will read them and go “hey that describes

me!” but not realize that it describes a lot of people. it’s also hard to judge how good we are at things compared to average or compared to other people. but there has been quite a bit of research into the Barnum effect. here are some mentioned in this review of literature by Dixon and Kelly. in 1949, Bertram forer gave 39 of his students an identical personality description consisting of Barnum statements but made them think the descriptions had been curated specifically for them as individuals. they were asked to read the descriptions and then rate their accuracy on a scale of 0 to 5, 0 being poor, 5 being perfect. the average rating was 4.3 and only five subjects rated theirs less than a 4 out of 5. these descriptions largely came from a newsstand astrology book. and while 39 people is a small sample size, this effect has been replicated many times Snyder and Larson were the first researchers to test the hypothesis that labeling a general personality interpretation as being specifically “for you” can increase acceptance of that interpretation. in this study, one group of subjects was told that their personality interpretation was derived “specifically for them” and a second group was told that their interpretation was “generally true of people.” subjects who were told that their general personality interpretation was “for them” rated the interpretation as a more accurate description of their own personalities than subjects who were told that the interpretation was “for people in general.” these results have been subsequently replicated. Ziv and Nevenhaus, and Hampson tested Forer’s speculation that individuals accept general personality descriptions for themselves while failing to recognize their applicability to the general population. the researchers used a within- subject design and asked that all subjects rate the accuracy of “their” personality descriptions both for themselves and for people in general they found that individuals rated their interpretation as being more true of themselves than of people in general these results were also replicated. how people are, how people think they are, and how people think they are when they’re told they’re something by a source they believe to be credible can all result in different responses to the same topic. if someone is told they’re something, they might respond differently than have asked. if someone is told they’re creative, they might search for an aspect of their life where they express their creativity, whereas if someone is asked if they’re creative they may think of all the people out there who are painters and architects and think “no I’m not creative.” we’re more likely to accept what is being told about us when it’s stated as fact over us having to make the decision of whether or not we think it’s true someone might have the perspective that everyone is creative and therefore a statement like “you are creative” would apply to everyone and another person might think that everyone has the ability to be creative but thinks of people who are creatively inclined as creative. it’s all arbitrary, and my guesses for what are and aren’t Barnum statements in my chart are arbitrary as well. some of them I knew were Barnum statements but some I just kind of had to guess and go with my gut- which is not really scientific at all. but I did a lot of research on Barnum statements I think there’s at least some importance to my classification of them. so the first category was true statements that are not Barnum statements the second category was true statements that are Barnum statements- so true for me but also true for most people. the third category was false statements- things that, based on my perception myself or what others have told me, are not true for me and are not Barnum statements, so I also think that others would feel that they don’t apply to them either. the fourth category was false statements that are barnum statements so- (he’s so aware of how naughty he’s being lol) so not true for me but I feel like a lot of people would find them to be true for themselves. the fifth category was statements I didn’t know the answer to because it could happen in the future or I just don’t know myself well enough to know if it applies to me and the final category was statements I didn’t understand or didn’t know which context was meant because it was so vague or I just didn’t know what it meant at all. so let’s look at some examples of these so you know exactly what I’m talking about so some true not Barnum statements would be: almost everything interests you. a lot of people focus on a smaller amount of interest whereas I’m interested in almost anything. not that one’s better than the other- I just think I have a greater amount of shallow interests than most people. you’re possibly inclined towards sarcasm. a lot of people use sarcasm but I feel like I’m more sarcastic the most… probably too sarcastic at times. you speak rapidly I don’t always talk fast but a lot of times I’d talk way too fast and I don’t think most people have that tendency as much as I do some true Barnum statements: you desire to better yourself. everyone does. you may fear poverty. no one wants to be in poverty, but this could also be interpreted as: I’m constantly worried that I’m gonna be going into poverty which I’m not, so I don’t know, there’s different interpretations. you may experience painful realizations throughout your life. everyone does. some

false not Barnum statements: The Sound of Music may be your favorite movie. I think this is the least general claim in the chart and I don’t think a lot of people would say this is their favorite movie, and I’m not a big fan of musicals so it’s not mine either. you are popular. this applies to maybe 2% of people and I’m not that 2%. you are idealistic. some of them I wasn’t really sure about, like this one. I don’t think I’m idealistic and I think many people might feel the same about themselves but I could be wrong. some false Barnum statements: you speak too quickly, before you have thought a matter through. I tend to not share what I’m thinking about that much so I could probably benefit from thinking less before talking, but I do think many people would think of situations where they’ve not thought before speaking and feel that this applies so them. you tend to be moody. I think a lot of people would say this is something that applies to them but I don’t think it’s something I tend towards- I feel like I’m pretty calm and mild like 100% of the time basically. you speak well. I might speak well in scripted videos or non-scripted ones where I can edit out whatever I want, but in real life I’m far worse at talking than the average person. some I didn’t know the answers to were: you possess an ethereal quality, does that mean in a celestial, unworldly way or a delicate, refined way? there’s two different definitions for it so I didn’t know which one it meant. you may change your residence frequently. since I’m only 19 I can’t know if this will happen in the future. you are highly aware of those around you. I feel like I am but I also feel like everyone thinks they are which makes me think myself and some others of us are probably wrong. but it’s hard to compare how aware you are to other people so I really don’t know. ones I didn’t understand: you are likely to be security conscious. security regarding what? like financial? physical? emotional? I wasn’t sure. you basically like people what does that even mean? like I basically like all people? I just don’t feel like that’s the way anyone would word a sentence so I didn’t really understand it. you are proud. about what? I also tried to keep track of contradictions in the chart and I did find six of them: you are perhaps argumentative… you are likely not argumentative. you may spend money unwisely you tend to be extremely careful with money. material rewards seem to come easily… you may have difficulties with material side of life. you have a tendency to avoid responsibility… you have a strong sense of responsibility you have a focus on being recognized and admired… you don’t seek personal glorification for actions. in relationships you tend to become intensely involved quickly… you are reluctant to come forward into relationships with people. I also find it interesting how many words were used that imply that a statement doesn’t necessarily imply apply to everyone or that it necessarily must apply to everyone. 168 of the 605 or 28% of statements used words like: “perhaps” stubborn. “may” have ability to heal others. “likely” to have changeable emotions. “could” experience discontentment with realities of life. all of which imply that they might not apply to everyone or: “potential for” the abuse of power “ability” to not take no for an answer “have capacity for” hard work. all of which apply to everyone because everyone has the potential or ability or capacity for those things. one out of every four statements use those words or ones with similar implications. so once I labeled each as true not barnum, true Barnum, false not barnum, false Barnum, I don’t know, or I don’t understand… I tallied each of them up and these were the results of my 1:57 a.m. July 4th, 2000, La Crosse Wisconsin birth chart: just looking at the 4 true and false categories and leaving out the don’t know and don’t understand ones, 54% of statements were false and 46% were true- which is worse than chance. within those same 4 categories, based on my best guesses of what were and weren’t Barnum statements, 64% were Barnum statements and 36% were not. just looking at the two true categories, 85% of them were Barnum statements in my opinion and only 15 percent were not. looking at all six categories, 30% were true Barnum statements, 23% were false not Barnum statements, 19% were false Barnum statements, 15% I didn’t know, 7% I didn’t understand, and the smallest percentage was the true not Barnum statements with 5%. the true not Barnum statements are the ones that you want. statements that I believe apply to me but are not so vague and general that they apply to everyone else but only 5% of the 605 statements were like that. since I did pay for three charts, I thought it would make sense to kind of look at and compare at least one part and each of them so let’s look at Mars in cancer, which I

just chose randomly, for the chart I’ve been using and then the $5 chart and the short $25 one, respectively chart number one: Mars in cancer gives a sensitive, sensuous, and emotional nature, (no) gentle and peaceful, (yes) with a tendency to internalize conflict (I don’t know probably) people with this placement of Mars may have trouble with their digestion. (I use to but not since going vegan) you also may need to work through being overly concerned with your private life to the detriment of public enterprise. (don’t really understand but don’t think so) your energy is centered on your home environment. (yes) and you may spend time and money remodeling or fixing up things just the way you want them around the house. (not a whole lot you) may appear timid or shy (yes) but are actually quite determined and readily take action (sometimes) although when you do you tend to act from an instinctual level rather than from the basis of your conscious will. (no) you may try too hard to achieve security or other unconscious goals and suffer anxiety as a result. (don’t understand) you benefit from relaxing more, (no I relax too much) and diverting some of your energies outwards toward the world around you. (probably) chart two: with Mars in the cardinal water sign of cancer, your self assertion and aggression will be heavily influenced by your emotional state and sensitive feelings. (yeah everyone’s actions are influenced by their emotions) your own feelings are sensitive to the aggression and anger of others (yes) and you may avoid the open expression of your own anger out of fear of causing emotional pain to other people. (don’t think so, I’m just not an angry person in general) this means you will keep quiet about your grievances (some of them) and poison the atmosphere with heavy vibes, (don’t think so) when a good healthy outburst may be the best way to get things off your chest and clear the air (No thank you, again I’m not an angry person so not one for outbursts) you’re motivated mainly by what you feel (no) and need ask your home base from which you can operate. (big yes) with this part of your life secure you have the emotional and physical strength to achieve whatever you set your heart on (great) chart 3 you need to feel in charge of your life inside your house, (kind of) it is your safe place (yes) and anyone who threatens it is gonna have to face you (only if it was a child would I be able to fight anyone off- like if someone was gonna break into my apartment I’d probably cry and hide, not fight them, so not really) there is a strong connection with your parents, (no) especially with a mother figure who taught you self esteem and to fight for what you want. (No) so while there were similarities between the three it seems like what was said depends on each individual’s interpretation. i left a review for the guy who cost the most and gave the least amount of information letting people know that there are other people on Fiverr doing the same thing and giving up way more information and it costs way less, and he responded by saying that those people use computer generated interpretations and he does this by hand. but how is that better? all astrologers will say slightly different things about mercury in the third house or the moon in Capricorn. why can’t they all agree? if they can’t agree, then what methods are they using to determine their interpretation and how do we determine who’s the most accurate or whose works the best? how do we know any of them are accurate? what if the stars and planets do influence us but every astrologer has a slightly flawed interpretation of how they do and therefore our understanding of astrology could be completely off? anyways, what I later decided to do was pay for another birth chart from the same guy but have it be for an Aries who was born at 8:54 p.m. March 23rd, 2000 in San Antonio Texas so I could compare my chart to another chart from a random date and time and see what kind of results that one gave me. now I understand that some will think that I was consciously or unconsciously biased when going into these charts which is completely reasonable. I wish I would have gotten the idea to compare charts before hand so I could have asked for them to have like all the signs left out and then just told to me after so I could look through them without knowing which chart was my own. luckily another youtuber dear mr. atheist has a video on him doing this with two other people they had someone read out three birth charts… or horoscopes? I wasn’t really sure because they said horoscopes but they seemed like charts to me. but either way, each belonged to one of the three people in the experiment, although they didn’t know which belonged to who and had to guess which was their own based on the one they felt most accurately described themselve.s here is a picture of their blind guesses, which they just randomly picked before even hearing the charts, then their final guesses after hearing all three charts, and then the correct answer. as you can see, two of their blind guesses were

correct and only one of their final guesses was. so two of the three of them felt that another chart described them better than their own chart did. let’s look at the results of the Aries chart versus my actual chart though. in this one there were 677 statements. many, many of which were also listed in my chart and if I recognized that I’d already seen one, I would find it and make sure how I categorized it was the same as my actual chart. so just looking at the true and false categories. the Aries chart had almost exactly the same percentage of true and false statements as my chart, actually a tiny percent more true statements. comparing all six categories, the Aries chart had more true not barnum, false not Barnum, don’t know, and don’t understand statements, and less true and false Barnum statements. while I understand that there being less Barnum statements makes it seem biased, I think overall the barnum/not Barnum statements aren’t that important or accurate because I’ve basically lived like a hermit for the past four years so I would never consider myself good at knowing what other people are like in general. but there were also over 600 statements in each chart and at no point did I know how many I had put in each category so far until I calculated them all up at the end using command+F so my count was accurate, I promise. also the 40 page Google Doc which lists every statement and how I categorized it right next to it will be in my sources so if you want to see exactly what I categorized as Barnum and Barnum statements and true/false and all the rest of the stuff you can do that. now there are apparently many people who have never known a person to not have their birth chart be accurate. others say if it’s not accurate then it’s due to the birth time the being wrong or the person being inexperienced at reading charts. or i’ve actually heard that not having a natural birth can have some sort of effect… so I was a c-section baby, maybe that’s why mine didn’t do too well. or maybe there are other explanations for why many people do find theirs to be accurate we’ve already talked about the Barnum effect, which is a cognitive bias. for a refresher, cognitive biases are systematic patterns of deviation from normal rationality and judgment. one type of bias I believe plays a huge role in the perceived accuracy of some people’s charts is confirmation bias, which is the tendency to search for, interpret, focus on, and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions. if someone believes astrology is accurate, they’ll believe that their natal chart must be accurate and therefore will search for ways to make most of the statements true. they’ll also focus on the statements that they find to be most accurate and ignore the less accurate or completely false ones. this can also be called operant conditioning, which is kind of like “heads you win, tails is irrelevant” or “you’re right even when you’re wrong.” subjective validation is another bias where a person will consider a statement or another piece of information to be correct if it has any personal meaning or significance to them it can also be described as the tendency of people to believe or accept an idea or statement if it presents to them in a personal and positive way. so when it comes to the positive statements in astrology, people may subconsciously want them to be true and therefore will kind of feel like they’re true- not realizing that they’re not actually true, it’s just them wanting them to be true that makes them feel like they are. and then the more and more they hear those things about themselves while reading about their charts and horoscopes over and over the more true they become to that person and their belief in astrology just increases and increases. with those who spend a lot of time researching or hanging out with other people who believe in astrology and talking about it, communal reinforcement can start to come into play. communal reinforcement is a social phenomenon in which a concept or idea is repeatedly asserted in community regardless of whether sufficient empirical evidence has been presented to support it. over time, the concept or idea is reinforced to become a strong belief in many people’s minds and may be regarded by the members of the community as fact. these cognitive biases can also be used to explain the belief things like phrenology, which is a pseudoscience which involves the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits, or in the blood type personality theory, which is another pseudoscientific belief that a person’s ABO blood type is predictive of a person’s personality, temperament, and compatibility with others. the fact that many people were telling me to get my natal chart done seemed like they were implying that getting it done and having it be accurate would be strong evidence for astrology or would convince me that astrology is real. many of us see stories as more relatable in statistics and value personal testimonies over data in certain cases. astrology believers often encourage skeptics to have their charts read but personal experience is not how you determine whether or not something is factual because our perceptions of things are not always correct. we can be fooled very easily if we just rely on our personal experience

to determine whether something is true or not. as shown, there are many different things that can play a role in how an individual interprets their chart that can cause them to come to conclusions that might not be accurate in reality, even though it may seem accurate from their perspective. this is why the scientific method is important. because we don’t have to wonder why some people find their natal charts to be accurate while others like myself do not. we can put astrology to the test. we can conduct studies that make it much more likely that fallacious arguments and cognitive biases won’t creep in and taint the conclusions. anecdotes and personal testimonies have their place in science- they can lead to questioning and testing certain things but they’re just a starting point. from there, we need to figure out how we can test certain hypotheses in a scientific way so we can be more certain that the results are not based on flawed reasoning, logic, experiments, or anything else. well, we don’t need to figure that out because there are already astrology believers and skeptics who have conducted studies regarding astrology. so let’s look at the science that is often used as evidence for astrological principles. before going into the more in-depth things, I’m going to quickly go through a few things that I’ve heard some people talk about. there is evidence that the season you’re born and affects your personality but from what we know that’s due to environmental factors during and after pregnancy, not the planets or constellations. crime rates time to be higher during full moons but that’s likely due to the increased brightness at night, making it easier to see, so crimes can be carried out more efficiently. some like to compare astrology to climatology and meteorology as in, they’re not accurate 100% at the time. I understand the comparison but weather and climate patterns are based on a lot of research and don’t vary all that much between different people making different predictions about the same patterns. we have tons of data going back hundreds of years showing temperatures, amount of rainfall, humidity, etc in specific areas at specific times of the years. we can look at weather coming towards us and based on previous experience with similar patterns that we can track with computers, we can put those things together( likely combined with other factors of course) and make a prediction that has a very small chance of being completely the opposite of what actually happens. how often has the humidity been predicted to be 95% and is actually 5% or the temperature has been predicted to be in the 60s and it was actually the 30s? things that more often end up being inaccurate are predictions about rain and storms and clouds but if astrology is as unpredictable, unreliable, and inaccurate as those, then we probably shouldn’t rely on it all right finally let’s get into the studies. keep in mind, one study of anything does not confirm that thing. there isn’t- or I hope there isn’t- one scientific finding that is based on just one study if there is the well then there’s not strong evidence for that finding. also correlation does not imply causation. a correlation between houses or aspects or signs and personality or characteristics does not necessarily mean that the former causes the latter. so the first study I read through was from this website called astrology research journal which looks like it hasn’t been used in a long time. the only thing that’s really on it is the four parts of the study from 2003 these articles looked at the correlation between certain aspects, houses, and signs in murderers as a way to hypothesis hunt for future studies regarding astrology. what this means is that the researchers looked for correlation between groups of murderers, serial killers, and mass murderers and which of them has certain aspects or planets in certain signs or houses at a rate of at least 50% more than chance by doing this, they can later test, say, moon in stress aspect with Mars and its correlation to murders in future studies. there are four articles on these studies and all of them say that the researchers are not claiming this is proof of astrology, the purpose of this series of papers is to see if there are any correlations between objective astronomical factors in horoscopes and objectively observable specific events in the lives of people. this is the first step in the scientific process of validation or falsification for any hypothesis. it’s important to note that the control group for the study was not made up of real people, it was computer-generated, which according to the researcher shouldn’t mess up the statistics but I don’t know if that’s true or not. looking at the results, there were some things in the murderers charts that appeared at least 50% more frequently than they would through chance, while the control group was almost always right around chance the results were pretty significant and I found them to be interesting because they do seem to point towards a correlation between astrology and murders but just from looking at the site it’s hard to trust that the tests are reputable. it would be interesting to see if future studies done on a similar subject would produce similar results but until they do I don’t think this is evidence for astrology… and neither does the researcher. next I went to astrology.co.uk

which has a lot of studies listed in this page titled “why it is unacceptable to dismiss astrology as rubbish.” one of the reasons I’m using the site is because I’ve seen this list or parts of it copy pasted verbatim on at least 5 different sites so it’s clear that this is a list a lot of people like to go by. the first one listed is Vernon Clark’s blind tests. u.s. psychologist vernon Clark performed a series of blind matching tests involving a total of 50 professional astrologers. while a control group of 20 psychologists and social workers matched 10 pairs of charts with professions to a level of 50%, as expected by chance, the astrologers successfully matched 65% though this result may not sound significant, the odds of this being a chance event is 1 in 10,000. so that sounds great except for the fact that the sample size for this study was 10 people meaning the control group averaged 5 out of 10 matches and the astrologers averaged 6.5 out of 10. to me that’s really not that much more. the site also lists two more studies by Vernon Clark, but again the sample sizes for these are only 10 people- which is just not good enough. that’s way too small according to the Wikipedia page for sample size determination, small sample sizes, though sometimes unavoidable, can result in wide confidence intervals and risk of errors in statistical hypothesis testing. next is a study from someone very, very frequently cited by astrologers. French psychologist and statistician Michael Gauquelin collected data from over 20,000 professional celebrities from various European countries and the United States. Gauquelins research detected statistically abnormal diurnal [daytime] positions of the planet Mars at birth in athletes, Jupiter in actors, Saturn in scientists, and the moon in writers. if you’ve ever heard of the Mars effect, this is that. for whatever reason, no one really talks about the other planets and professions and for the sake of this video we only really need to look at the Mars effect because that’s one with the most information and it does have flaws that make the others questionable as well. so in the winter 1979/1980 edition of The Skeptical Inquirer, a series of articles were written about the Mars effect. the first is about a replication of the Mars effect test conducted by George Abell, Marvin Zelen, and Paul Kurtz, who from now on I’ll call “the researchers.” that is then followed by response from Gauquelin himself and then the researchers who respond to his response in the first article, they talk about their US replication of Gauquelin’s test and how the results turned out to be negative for the Mars effect. now just because they were negative doesn’t mean they’ve disproven it but in their two articles and even in Gauquelins response there is some interesting stuff said that makes me question Gauquelins findings first of all, before the three researchers conducted their study, Gauquelin told them: “I recommend that basketball players not be included, for they have given the most disappointing results in the European sample,” which makes it seem like he cherry picked his original study and left basketball players out because they didn’t yield the results he wanted. I don’t know if I’m misunderstanding that because it seems a bit odd that he would admit to that… but the researchers also pointed that out so it seems a bit sketchy to me Gauquelin also had a problem with who the researchers chose to be part of their studies because he claimed many of the sports players they chose weren’t the greatest names in the history of American sports. but then the researchers said that he had agreed to their selection before the study was conducted he later mentions the *worldwide* selections from the “Who’s Who in boxing” and “who’s who in track and field” books, which list well-known and high ranking sports players. Gauquelin was satisfied with those athletes results in the three researchers studies so he says it’s not surprising that these athletes displayed the Mars effect, but then immediately after says to be listed in a *national* “who’s who” does not offer sufficient standards for observing the Mars effect when it comes to the ones for basketball and football. there are only 15 people from the boxing one and the researchers maintained they did not show the Mars effect. there are apparently so few people that can be studied that the US, with over 170 million people at the time, didn’t provide a sufficient amount of birth data on top athletes that Gauquelin considered good enough for the Mars effect. but his study included 198 cyclists from Belgium, a country with less than 10 million people, so why was that sufficient? from my read through of these articles it seems like everything that supports the Mars effect Gauquelin will accept without looking into it but anything he doesn’t he’ll claim something was done wrong, which may very well be true. he does also go on to list some mistakes and inconsistencies made in the three researchers study which makes me question their results too- like that they used coaches in the study, which is confirmed by them in their follow-up rebuttal. but Gauquelin’s standards for who’s a good enough player to be included in

the study don’t seem to be very scientific and he seems to change his standards based on what works for him the amount of athletes he claims the Mars effect applies to is so small that it’s just a hard thing to do any research on, especially because it can be very hard to obtain birth data on people and knowing the exact time of their birth is even harder. to Gauquelin, the person can’t just be a professional sports player, they have to be an all-star or champion and since the results aren’t in his favor for some sports, those sports must be left out, as well as anyone born after 1950 because those results also didn’t show as strong of an effect because apparently medically induced births skew the effect or something. but if that’s the case, then how would we be able to use astrology correctly nowadays when medically induced births are much more common? if you look at the results from the researchers study, the percentage born with Mars in a key sector after 1950 was much less than the others, but I’ve never been able to find an explanation for how a birth being medically induced would somehow have an effect on how accurate a person’s chart is. Gauquelin also conducted another study entitled “new famous European athletes displayed the Mars effect” but 21 and the 432 subjects were born after 1950. the big problem I see with these studies is the selection process. it’s hard to make conclusions on either side because the selection process is not clearly stated or agreed upon and it definitely seems like Gauquelin was very biased and cherry picked whatever fit his narrative. so I don’t think his studies are evidence of astrology either. when researching that though, I realized I hadn’t even been looking for peer-reviewed studies. peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competences as the producers of the work (peers). it functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. peer review methods are used to maintain quality standards, improve performance, and provide credibility. there are about 15 other studies that are listed on the astrology.co.uk site but it’s kind of useless to go through them because none of them are peer reviewed. in fact if you look up peer reviewed astrology, you really don’t get anything in support of it. of course there are results but it’s mainly things that are against astrology or just astrology websites. and there are a couple studies that have been published in peer-reviewed astrology journals Correlation, which based on its website doesn’t seem like the most reputable journal, and the International Journal of Jyotish research, which looks at Hindu astrology. the only non astrology journal I’ve seen is the Journal of Consciousness Studies, which included an article called “commentary on Geoffrey Dean and Ivan Kelly’s article ‘is astrology relevant to consciousness and Psi’.” It isn’t a woo magazine that talks about consciousness in a new-age way, it’s a journal that focuses on cognitive science, neurophysiology, and philosophy. astrology.co.uk says mainstream scientific journals will not publish an astrology paper as it is not their field and they cannot peer-review it. yet, flawed experiments supporting a skeptical agenda that would not pass peer review in journals like correlation sneak into respectable journals. I don’t know why the author of this website thinks that an astrology journal would be more reputable than a skeptical one. to propose that astrologers are better at creating unflawed and unbiased studies when they don’t even necessarily have to have degrees in scientific fields and some may not have never even been to college seems a bit far-fetched and convenient for him to claim. but it seems like this is a huge problem because if only astrologers can peer-review astrological studies then it makes it more likely that the observer- expectancy effect will occur, which is when a researcher expects a given result and therefore unconsciously manipulates an experiment or misinterprets data in order to find it. of course that can happen with skeptical researchers as well, but I genuinely don’t think non astrology believers are as concerned with proving astrology wrong as astrology believers are with proving it right. some people act like all skeptics dismiss astrology without giving it a chance but do you really think that there isn’t a single scientist or psychologist or whoever that isn’t willing to look into it at all and give it a chance? every single non astrologer who’s conducted studies on astrology has wanted to prove it wrong? personally I don’t believe that anyways, let’s check out the peer-reviewed article. there’s not really a whole lot to go into because it’s not really giving proof for astrology but rather the purpose is just to debunk a popular article on astrology by Dean and Kelly. the author, Kenneth McRitchie it talks about the shortcomings of Dean’s study of time twins which is not evidence for astrology. then he claims another of Dean’s studies is flawed- which I’m not making any claims to as to whether or not they are flawed, I’m just looking for things that would be considered evidence for astrology then he claims another of his studies is

flawed and then does it agai.n but at the end of this section he lists a few studies regarding naturally red hair, earthquakes, and workplace accidents. I couldn’t find the first two studies but I did find the workplace one which hypothesized that they could find a correlation between date of birth and date of workplace injury. one problem I noticed with the study is that the time of birth and the time of injury were not known or used in study at all which based on my research seems like that would be important. but they didn’t remove all cuspal dates so it seems like they’re just looking at sun signs. it found that people are much more likely to be injured around their birthday, three months, six months, or nine months after their birthday. so when the transisting sun forms a hard aspect with the natal sun. the results are actually amazing and if the study was done correctly it might definitely support astrology, but most people who have studied astrology extensively don’t think of just sun sign related information as being very valid I’m also not able to find any replications of the study or really anyone else talking about it and that’s basically the whole peer-reviewed article. other than those three studies, only one of which I could find full information on, it’s not giving evidence for astrology meaning I couldn’t find any studies that support astrology that are peer reviewed by non astrologers. so because of that it’s hard to know if the information on the subject is really all that reliable. I think it would be great to see some collaborative studies between skeptics and astrologers where they agree on everything beforehand- I think those would certainly be more reliable as it wouldn’t allow for as much intentional or unintentional bias to slip in. until then, for me personally, I don’t think it makes so much sense to believe in astrology, especially considering the things I talked about in the previous sections and things I’m going to talk about in the next. so let’s look at some things that make astrology seem a little less plausible in my opinion. first of all, the lack of agreement between astrologers regarding just what everything is a huge red flag many astrology websites or individuals who do natal charts say if you don’t know your birth chart just put in 12 a.m. but then other astrologers will say that just a few minutes off from your actual birth time can have a large effect in what your chart looks like Geoffrey Dean said they sometimes argue that times of birth just a minute apart make all the difference by altering what they call the house cusps but in their work they’re happy to take whatever time they can get from a client. they don’t agree on the significance of Neptune, Pluto, and Uranus. they don’t agree on the significance of the asteroids- some astrologers use a few of the biggest ones, some don’t use any, some use one or two or three. they don’t agree on house systems or allowable orbs. they disagree on what a birth chart should contain or how it should be interpreted, as shown in the part where i compared three different interpretations of my chart. their differences in opinions and interpretations is like going up to multiple different physicists and asking them all “if I throw this ball from this height with this amount of momentum, how far will it go up before it starts coming back down?” and they go and do calculations and all come back with different answers… like would it be reasonable to believe that they know what they’re doing? in my opinion we should be able to have a set in stone interpretation of how Mars and cancer affects a person and we should have evidence for that. if we don’t, then how can we know that what an astrologer is telling us is accurate? whenever an astrologer makes predictions about the future or a personality or compatibility and they get it wrong, believers will just say that that person was essentially a quack, but this person over here isn’t. just deciding for yourself that a person is right isn’t good enough because like previously explained, our senses can deceive us. the Barnum effect can deceive us confirmation bias can deceive us. that’s why peer reviewed studies are so important- they lessen the possibility of those things happening. there’s so much disagreement between astrologers and if it can’t be explained or demonstrated how astrologers make conclusions based on the planets and stars, then it’s not remotely science. if they’re just going based off what they’re taught the signs and aspects and houses signify, but we don’t have a clue how those teachings came to be, how are we to trust them? from my research, it seems that astrology is often interwoven with other supernatural beliefs- many astrologers claim to use ESP. some claim to have spirit guides helping them. a study of 250 astrologers- mostly American- found that over half claimed to use psychic abilities in their chart readings American astrologer Doris chase doane once said it is almost impossible to read a birth chart without exercising in some degree, extra-sensory perception so what if ESP is real and that’s what all astrologers are actually using knowingly or unknowingly. do I believe that- no. but technically it’s a

possibility (actually probably not because of online stuff). astrologers you meet with in real life may also use a technique called cold reading which is a method of obtaining a great deal of information by analyzing the person’s body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, level of education, manner of speech, place of origin, etc. while there isn’t much out there in support of astrology besides people’s personal experiences, there are a lot of studies that have been not in support of it. many studies have put astrologers to the test by seeing if they can match birth charts to people and they did so right around the rate of chance and while astrology has a lack of strong evidence, we have tons of evidence that heredity has effects on personality we have tons of evidence that environment plays a huge role in personality. we have evidence for psychology, that’s why it’s science and astrology is pseudoscience. astrology also doesn’t account for the fact that people are constantly changing. a person can have a sensitive or jealous personality for a period of their life and then have that change. whenever a group believes in something that is widely considered pseudoscientific, they often resort to conspiracy theories and acting like governments, scientists, churches, or certain industries- like the pharmaceutical industry- don’t want the scientific belief to become scientific or accepted by more people, so they try to silence the group. anti-vaxxers think the same thing. flat-earthers think the same thing. some astrologers have said that astrology can’t be tested through statistical methods. why not? some people say it doesn’t matter if astrology is scientific or not because they know what works and don’t care what science has to say because science can be wrong. but people usually only distrust a scientific theory or finding when it conflicts with a belief they have? I think that for those who don’t really care if astrology is true or not, it still isn’t best to base decisions on it. I mean would you take advice from me on who you are or what you should do with your life if you knew it wasn’t true and was something that I just completely made up? astrology can also lead to irrational decisions. it can make you do things that might not be the best thing to do and can also keep you from doing things because you think it’s not the best time, which is common when it comes to mercury being in retrograde, which according to horoscope.com is “astrology’s most nerve-wracking event.” Mercury retrograde is the apparent motion of a planet in a direction opposite to that of other bodies within its system as observed from a particular vantage point. so three to four times a year for a couple of weeks at a time, mercury looks like it’s orbiting the Sun backwards compared to usual from our perspective on earth. people use it to explain every negative thing that happens during this time. you lost your phone? retrograde. you got a drunk driving accident that you caused? retrograde. you can attribute feeling tired or sad or confused to it you’re also not supposed to make big decisions when Mercury’s in retrograde but the whole thing is just an illusion mercury isn’t orbiting backwards. that’s just how it appeared to people back before they understood what was going on so they thought it was significant this video shows what’s actually happening. we have no reason to think that there’s any significance in a planet being in retrograde- yet people will use it to explain bad things, justify bad behavior, and avoid doing certain things during it. I also don’t think we should make assumptions about other people based on our perceived understanding of astrology. I’ve never been like my sun sign says I’m supposed to be, so I feel like when people ask me what my sign is, they start to form this completely false version of me in their head- like that I’m super sensitive or I’m basically psychic when they’d be able to get to know me way better if they just asked me about myself there are still a few questions I have about astrology that make me kind of question its validity. earlier I mentioned that I read our Moon sign affects us more in childhood than our Sun sign does. how would the position of the Moon and Sun at time of birth not only determine personality but shift importance or dominance over which is more relevant to us throughout our lives? nature is not usually exact and precise, so why would the signs be naturally thirty degrees? science can revise itself and correct for error- can and does astrology do that? have there been changes to astrological principles over the years like there have been to many ancient beliefs that we once had and now have learned more about through advancements of technology? like if we discovered that cancers we’re not actually sensitive, would that be revised? something that’s just my opinion and doesn’t really mean that much- it’s definitely a flawed way of viewing things is that I just can’t wrap my mind around how the celestial bodies would affect us so much in so many different ways as astrology claims. like if they do affect us, it would make much more sense to me that they would just affect us in tiny, tiny ways and would not be things that we should or could base our entire lives around. so to conclude the video, I just

want to say, it’s okay to say I don’t know. I don’t know if astrology is real or not. there’s nothing wrong with uncertainty. there’s nothing wrong with waiting for evidence before believing in something. not that you can choose your beliefs- you can’t. like I couldn’t just decide to believe in unicorns. I would have to be convinced that unicorns exist, and when it comes to astrology I just haven’t been convinced yet. I understand why people do believe in astrology though. personal testimonies can be very convincing. I understand that many people want to feel connected to a higher power and that astrology can feel really good and refreshing and inclusive to people who have left a certain religion or are typically excluded from certain religions. I totally empathize with those who feel lost or directionless in life and just want something to kind of give them direction and advice on what they should do. but I also think it’s very important to closely examine your beliefs, especially the ones that are very integral to the way that you see yourself, how you live your life, and the decisions that you make. and I don’t expect anyone to want to or be able to do a month’s worth of research on every single different belief they have, but I do think it’s important to know what you believe, why you believe, and how you came to those beliefs and to be open to learning about new perspectives. 🙂