Nanopolitan noted Sean Carrol’s rebuttal of Intelligent design and feels that the astrology camp India is similar in charachter to the Intelligent design camp in the US. neelakantan doubts if we understand enough to debunk astrology. This is a reply.
First,to me, any endevour is a “science” only if it seeks to understand the world around us and is able to make predictions which are testable anywhere by anybody.Needless to say, these predictions must work.
Historically, mankind feared many forces of nature. It would have been easy to find a correlation between floods and the position of ,say, the Sun/Moon. It is fair to expect that in the same vein, planets were roped in and were assumed to affect all aspects of human life. As a matter of fact, Newton himself was impressed by Astrology. But today, we know MUCH more. We can fly a satellite into a comet, send satellites to observe the sun, put telescopes in orbit, fly to space and come back. These are no mean things. They are possible purely because of the precision that we are able to achieve in our predictions. They don’t use “Priyanka Gandhi will be PM by 2007” – type predictions, the ones a Astrologer seem to love. We know FOR SURE that there is NO truth is all this business of Rahu, Kethu etc affecting our lives. If you don’t agree, show me a prediction from Astrology that works 100% fine ,all the time. I can give you numerous such examples from today’s Science.
Any astrology column, is often an exercise in tactful writing which will make almost anything seem possible. They put their good composition writing skills to work… Don’t believe me?.. look at this. This is a daily page..I have saved a copy of the Aug 6th page here
Our beloved Astrologer says:
- “Get a clearance from superiors before embarking on a new project” – If you needed an astrologer to tell u this .. u r in serious trouble – consider resigning your job.
- “Devote time and attention to those who can fully appreciate your optimism” – Did I tell him that I am optimistic?..I am sure even the writer does not understand what he is trying to say.
- “Influential people may get some new offer regarding business. Do not jump for the offer without due consideration.” — Brilliant..as general as it can get. New management guru in the making… Arindham Choudhry, u have competition!
- “Travels may not yield the expected results. Progress can be seen. Exercise more caution on your health front.” – What on earth is “Progress can be seen” doing there? vague-o-vague
I have chosen only a few of the ‘predictions’ to comment here. Even if some of the others sound more precise, the point is that there is little there that any concerned friend/relative won’t tell you. Revered Mr. Astrologer is useless. *may*, *likely*,*most probably* seem to be his favourite (only?) adjectives.
Now if you think I am guy a who thinks science solves everything..sorry,that is not my point. We might/might not find a theory which would explain everything. But we know for sure certain things just don’t happen. Put a ball in a pit and chant your heart out.. the ball won’t rise on its own. This is a centuries-old observation. There is no known exception.If you think everything is maya.. then forget about the world..go to the forest and spend ur time. No objections! Why bother about teaching Astrology in universities? Leave the rest alone.(Note: I am not rubbishing philosophy..my point is that this whole money-minded astrology business is in conflict with such philosophical thoughts too)
I for one think that these ‘expert’ astrologers perfectly know that they are cheating people and they adapt with times to ensure their hold remains(heard of “computerised horoscope matching for marriages”??.. what a combination!). In India, this debate sprang into focus sometime back with the Astrologers demanding induction of their ‘science’ into the universities. See this article by Prof. Jayaram of IMSc, written in this context. He is a theoretical physicist who writes often in Hindu/Frontline on Science-Society issues. He was also a very prominent voice against India’s Pokhran nuke tests. He notes that even personalities like our current Finance Minister Mr.Chidambaram think that astrology should be developed with a “modern scientific basis”. No marks for guessing what our “nationalist” NDA thought about vedic astrology. But for some quick action by eminent scientists, astrology would have made into our universities. Come on pple.. there are enough other things in Indian History that we can truly be proud of. I find it utterly surprising that even the well educated fall prey to such pass-times. I don’t know as to why this is the case….is this a failure of the scientific community to reach out to more people? ..or is it an incurable plague in our society?