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Astrology

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Due to the similarities in spelling, some students mix-up astrology and astronomy.

Astrology is an ancient religious belief system.

Astronomy is the scientific study of objects in space: the sun, moon, stars, planets and other space phenomena.

Where does astrology come from?

Astrology is an ancient pagan religious belief. Historical records show that astrology – celestial divination – began around 1800 BCE, in ancient Babylon (the region now known as Iran.)

From 1600 BCE we find the famous Enuma Anu Enlil (“When the gods Anu and Enlil…“) which has close to 7,000 omens (astrological prophecies)

The gods were also believed to present themselves in the celestial images of the planets or stars with whom they were associated. Evil celestial omens attached to any particular planet were therefore seen as indications of dissatisfaction or disturbance of the god that planet represented.

Such indications were met with attempts to appease the god and find manageable ways by which the god’s expression could be realised without significant harm to the king and his nation.

Only five planets were then recognized: Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Mars.
Babylonian gods astrology
These five planets were identified with the gods of the Babylonian pantheon:

* Jupiter with the god Marduk
* Venus with the goddess Ishtar
* Saturn with the god Ninurta (Ninib)
* Mercury with the god Nabu (Nebo)
* Mars with the god Nergal

The movements of the Sun, Moon and five planets were regarded as representing the activity of the five gods – together with the moon-god Sin and the Sun-god Shamash – in preparing events on earth. If, therefore, one could correctly interpret the activity of these powers, one knew what the gods were aiming to bring about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_astrology

Centuries later astrology spread to ancient Greece, and the nearby Hellenistic world (cities and nations that adopted Greek culture and politics) which included ancient Egypt (then part of the Greek empire.)

In Egypt, horoscopes, and the signs of the Zodiac were invented by the 1st century BCE.

Belief in astronomy as a way of learning the will of the gods continued well into the Roman era.

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Sun-sign (in)compatibility

Aug 1st 2003, Claus Larsen, http://www.skepticreport.com/sr/?p=483

How well do astrologers agree with each other? One of the more amusing aspects of an astrologer’s life is to predict who will be suitable as a partner for the client. This can be done in seconds: Merely compare the two persons’ astrological signs and you have the answer.
There are many astrologers who advocate this procedure, often very famous ones, so you would think that it really works. Hey, Astrologer X wouldn’t be successful if it didn’t work, right?

Wrong.

Given the history of astrologers and how they cannot seem to agree on anything, it might be wise to check if they agree at least on this simple test.

So let’s compare…

I have found seven compatibility charts. The first three charts are from the Danish book “Best of All Worlds”, by Dan Frederiksen and Lars Peter Jepsen, the last four are from Terence Hines’ book “Pseudoscience and the Paranormal”.



 

As we can see, there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on which sign is the best for you. If we accumulate the data, we get a chart like this:

The number indicates how many were in disagreement. Red (0) indicates that all seven agreed, and White (3) indicates that 3 had one opinion, while the 4 others had another.

In other words, the deeper red, the more agreement.

The result

How many out of the 144 datapoints (each of the 12 signs compared to all 12 signs) do the seven astrologers agree on?

A paltry 31, which means that they only agreed 21.5% of the time.

However, there were no less than 47 points where they were completely divided, 3 against 4. That’s 32.6%, almost one in three!

So, a third of the time, the advice you will get from your astrologer will be completely random. Only in one in five cases, you will be “certain”. Astrologers disagree far more than they agree.

Can you actually depend on these 21.5%? No. Astrologers cannot claim agreement on these, unless they explain why they disagree so thoroughly on every other combination. You cannot merely choose what seems to work, and then ignore what doesn’t.

If astrologers cannot even agree on something simple as which signs are compatible, how can we then expect them to tell us more complicated things about our lives and future?

Learning Standards

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards

Students will be able to:
* apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims and assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion;
* respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence and challenging ideas and conclusions, and determining what additional information is required to solve contradictions
* evaluate the validity and reliability of and/or synthesize multiple claims, methods, and/or designs that appear in scientific and technical texts or media, verifying the data when possible.

Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework (2018 Draft)

Topic 3: Western Asia, the Middle East and North Africa: Mesopotamia, c. 3500-1200 BCE

On a map of archaeological sites in the region, and identify the locations and time periods of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians as successive states and empires.

18. Analyze the important characteristics and achievements of early Mesopotamia.
a. a complex society with rulers, priests, soldiers, craftspeople, farmers, and slaves
b. a religion based on polytheism (the belief in many gods)
c. monumental architecture (the ziggurat) and developed art (including large relief
sculptures, mosaics, carved cylinder seals)
d. cuneiform writing, used for record keeping tax collection, laws and literature

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012)

Implementation: Curriculum, Instruction, Teacher Development, and Assessment

“Through discussion and reflection, students can come to realize that scientific inquiry embodies a set of values. These values include respect for the importance of logical thinking, precision, open-mindedness, objectivity, skepticism, and a requirement for transparent research procedures and honest reporting of findings.”

Next Generation Science Standards: Science & Engineering Practices

● Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
● Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.
● Ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables.
● Evaluate a question to determine if it is testable and relevant.
● Ask and/or evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of the design.

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