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Astrology and Science

A recent poll by the National Science Foundation found that, when asked if they thought astrology was scientific, only 55 percent answered “no”. This is down from 66 percent in 2004. An article in Mother Jones Magazine took this to mean that more people are accepting of astrology. What I thought when I read the results was that, if you asked a large group of astrologers the same question, the percentages would probably be very similar.

The notion the astrology has to be proven scientifically, at least in terms of the “hard” sciences, has been out of vogue in the astrological community for several years. With more astrologers going back to traditional techniques, and looking at the astrology they practice as a method of divination, the validation of science has become less an issue.

This is not to say that astrologers don’t see what they do as factual, but factual and scientific are very different terms. I love my wife. If I asked a scientist to prove this to me he or she would probably tell me that love is too subjective a feeling to be measured by scientific means. That doesn’t make my love for my wife any less factual.

There are still many astrologers who consider what they do as scientific, though generally in the mode of the “softer” sciences, such as psychology and economics. Most astrologers I know use the basic scientific method of trial and error, and they are constantly experimenting with different techniques and approaches. However, these astrologers would also admit that intuition is big part of what they do. In fact, I know some astrologers who have found that intuition is all that they need, and they hung out their shingles as psychics.

It is essential to remember that science is a discipline designed to solve a certain set of problems. There has been a concerted effort during the past two hundred years to include every aspect the of the human experience into this set, After all, if the only tool you have is a hammer, you have to treat every problem as if it were a nail.

Astrology represents another kind of tool, a way of dealing with the problems that inevitably elude the scientific hammer. It definitely has one foot in the sciences. Anyone who ever cast a horoscope without the aid of a computer knows this. But it extends into a broader, largely unexplored area of the human experience, an area in which fate, love and the infinite joy and bone-chilling terror of being a human being are explained, at least in part.

So will astrology ever be considered a science? At this point in time we really can’t identify a physical mechanism that would explain how the planets influence us the way astrologers know they do. As science wends its way through the vagaries of quantum physics, and morass of alternate universes and multiple dimensions, I think that at some point that mechanism will be known. When that happens, it won’t be a matter of astrology joining the science. It will be the sciences that join astrology.

What’s your take on the relationship between science and astrology? We always welcome your comments.

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