Why Panic Over Astrology?

I am also a professional astrologer, and to a small subset of the general public, this makes me a kook or an idiot - despite my providing valuable guidance and insight to a lot of people who, by and large, are not kooks or idiots either.

Changing Sky - Astrology

The American National Science Foundation recently conducted their annual study of "Science and Technology Indicators." Among other things, it indicated that American students were getting better at math, graduation rates are higher, the number of people with Master's Degrees is increasing, academic research and development is up, and that interest among the general public in science and technology is somewhat higher than it is in Europe, that Americans hold scientists and engineers in fairly high esteem, and that fewer Americans reject Astrology than in previous years.

Now... guess which one of those findings got the most attention in the media? Which of these was decried as a symptom of the Softening of the American Brain? You guessed it. There is a always a subset of the population - that notorious scoundrel, Person A - who is rubbed the wrong way whenever Person B sees evidence for something being true that conflicts with Person A's worldview. This sort of thing is normally the domain of believers in a religion or philosophy or political ideology, but over the years a new group of loudly vocal naysayers has entered the fray - the Professional Skeptics.

Like most people, I don't like to think of myself as being deluded. I know how a microwave oven works, I know the Earth is round, and I don't think the Tooth Fairy took off with my molars when I was a kid. I am also a professional astrologer, and to a small subset of the general public, this makes me a kook or an idiot... despite my providing valuable guidance and insight to a lot of people who, by and large, are not kooks or idiots either.

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Some people put a lot of effort into defending their dogmas, and those who object to astrology are no different. I recently wrote a three-part series for Beliefnet in which I pointed out, very clearly and carefully, that the primary reasons skeptics of astrology give as to why astrology can't be "real" are simply Straw Men... misunderstandings or misrepresentations of how astrology is actually done. As of this writing, that series has received over a hundred comments... almost none of which address the actual observations I posted about the James Randi Educational Foundation's deeply-flawed anti-astrology textbook I was commenting on. And as of this writing, no one at JREF has accepted my Ten Dollar Challenge to prove me wrong, so... using their standard of proof... apparently they're wrong and I'm right.

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Matthew Currie
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