Watch Carl Sagan trash horoscopes and the “pseudoscience” of Astrology

In ‘Cosmos’, the astrophysicist and astronomer devoted some thoughts to the most useless pseudoscience of all.

The only thing that links the destiny of human beings with the brightness of the shining stars that defines their zodiac sign, is that the star is most probably as dead as the dreams of those who entrust their destiny to astrologers. Although it has been proven by scientists throughout history that there is absolutely no truth in the predictions of the zodiac signs, millions of people believe in them blindly Why? The American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, writer, and science communicator Carl Sagan (the human being who managed to send messages to the stars and who said this about the possibility of finding extraterrestrial life) tried to answer this question in his program Cosmos.

Sagan explained that while astronomers try to make sense of what they see through telescopes, to unveil the stars as they really are and discover their function in the cosmos, astrologers only “imagine” how their trajectories influence our daily lives.

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“To astronomers, Mars is as real a place as Earth, a world waiting for exploration,” he says. “For astrologers, Mars is a warrior, the instigator of fights, of violence and destruction.”

This was not always the case: in fact, there was a time in human history when astronomy and astrology went hand in hand. There came a time when astronomy escaped the confines of astrology and the two traditions began to diverge. It was not until the observations of Johannes Kepler that the night sky began to be demystified.

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“The intellectual foundations of astrology were swept away 300 years ago, and yet many people still take astrology seriously. Ever notice how easy it is to find a magazine about astrology? Virtually every newspaper in America has a daily column on astrology and almost none have even a weekly column on astronomy,” Sagan complaints.

All this happens because of the deep-rooted belief in the stars, which persists in almost all cultures of the world. A few thousand years ago, the idea developed that the movements of the planets determine the destiny of empires, dynasties, and kings.

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“Astrologers studied the movements of the planets and Venus what had happened the last time constellation goat; perhaps something similar would happen this time as well,” Sagan tells of the history of astrologers becoming tools for rulers. They became exclusive state employees and many countries made divination that was not done for the rulers a crime. That is, if anyone read the stars for anyone other than the Great Leader, he was left without a head.

“Chinese court astrologers who made inaccurate predictions were executed, others simply manipulated the records so that they were then in perfect conformity with events. Astrology became a strange discipline, a mixture of careful observations, mathematics, and record keeping with muddled thinking and pious fraud,” Carl recounts.

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When this era of government astrologers ended, astrology flourished for one simple reason: life is really meaningless. People were looking for a “cosmic meaning” to their daily routine. “(Astrology) purports to satisfy our longing to feel personally connected to the universe. Astrology suggests a dangerous fatalism. If our lives are controlled by a set of traffic signals in the sky, why to try to change anything here?” says the science popularizer.

The problem Carl Sagan sees with modern astrology is that it “tells you what to do, not what is going to happen,” and that predictions vary from astrologer to astrologer. How could two people born at the same place, date and time have such profoundly different destinies, like twin brothers?

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“The desire to be connected to the cosmos reflects a profound reality. We are connected, not in the trivial ways that the pseudoscience of astrology tells us, but in deeper ways. Our little planet is under the influence of a star. The Sun warms us and drives the climate that sustains life. Four billion years ago life was created on Earth. But our Sun is only one of the millions of millions of stars in the observable universe, and those countless suns all obey natural laws, some of which we already know,” Sagan said.

Story originally published in Spanish Collective Culture

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