VOICES: Is astrology really science?

Category:  Opinions
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 at 3:14 PM
VOICES: Is astrology really science? by Alexander Beatty
Graphic: Eric Johnson

An ongoing debate is whether or not astrology is an actual science. I may lean toward “no,” but the question isn’t that straightforward. Astrology and science have different definitions, obviously, but also different aims. 

Their parameters are important. Astrology is the "divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events." In short, it studies how space influences things here on Earth. Science is "knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws." This studies the truth through testing and the scientific method. 

Astrology changes with cultures and specific geographical locations, so it’s challenging to pinpoint one particular aspect of the field that covers everyone. But let’s dive into the most well-known aspect that should provide enough evidence — the zodiacs. More specifically, we’ll discuss the western zodiac signs. 

In different cultural areas, the zodiacs are interpreted differently. According to Fefe Ho & Chloe Chiao, the Chinese Zodiac rotates through a 60-year calendrical cycle, paired with a “Celestial Stem.” Each is associated with Earth (chǒu), and it cycles through five nature elements (wǔ xíng). There are 12 animals, each having different personalities and charms of luck (such as flowers, numbers, or colors). 2021 is the year of the ox, which is the symbol for hard work, intelligence, creativity and stubbornness. The symbols of luck are numbers one and four, the flowers of lily of the valley and bamboo, as well as the colors of blue, yellow and green. It’s nature element is metal with the Celestial Stem of xīn. 

There are 13 western zodiacs, in contrast to the popular belief of 12, according to NASA. Most people exclude Ophiuchus as number 13. Thousands of years ago, Ophiuchus was excluded by an ancient society, and the remaining 12 were based on the 12 months in a calendar year. Ophiuchus is considered a constellation, not a sign of the zodiac.

Your zodiac sign is said to impact your behavior. It all depends on your birth date, time and location, which will all have a specific alignment of constellations with the sun and moon that determine your personality traits. Though personality can also be shaped by environment, it will slightly differ from person to person, with the majority overlapping. That being said, I think it’s really just a reassuring system for people to validate their own personality quirks. Some people believe in deeper versions of the zodiac, which dive much more in-depth than personality, but the astrology for the everyday person is just personality.

For example, Gemini's zodiac sign goes from roughly May 20 to June 21, when the sun moves through the constellation, which is also known as the twins. According to Co-Star, individuals born during this range are said to be outgoing, and it makes people adventurous and continuously on the move. They're outgoing, impulsive and playfully curious. Of all the zodiacs, Geminis are the social ones who can talk to anyone about anything. Being alone is something nearly impossible for this sign. They do have bad traits as well, like being judgmental and overly anxious. 

In stark contrast, the Capricorns are said to be the more quiet, homely people, according to Co-Star. Their dates go from Dec. 21 to Jan. 20. Those born during this time are seen as ambitious, practical, sensitive, hardworking, motivated and disciplined. They’re success-driven and independent. They enjoy DIY projects, cooking, sewing, movie nights, and everything else that can be done either at home or to express creativity.

Let’s go back to our comparison. Science is about proof and theory. There needs to be a testable explanation for knowledge. There is no proof behind the stars and the planets. Yes, we understand how they move or how many light years away they are, but there is no proof behind human behavior or why the stars cause people to act the way they do. There is no way to test why the movement of the planets and stars shapes human behavior.

Believing in both is possible and is done quite often, but it is improbable to merge the two into one category. Astrology is not real science.

Alexander Beatty is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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