Ancient astrologers needed to observe celestial phenomena and perform complex mathematical calculations to establish astronomical knowledge for fortune-telling and divination; all of which required strict knowledge training, By no means ordinary people can learn. At that time, the true astrologers were intellectuals, and only the royal family and nobles could enjoy the calculations of astrology.
Interestingly speaking, the horoscopes that everyone sees online now are based on personal questions (such as “Can I find a future job”, “How long will it take to find a suitable lover”, “What is my personality?”) Calculate the result; but in the eyes of ancient astrologers, it is a ridiculously wrong heresy. In the past, astrologers calculated “who will win the war and who will be the next king” and other important national events. The average personal peach blossom or work experience is by no means an astrologer’s eye. Moreover, the formal algorithm of ancient astrology, in addition to considering the horoscope of the individual’s birth, it also considers where the sun was in the constellation at the time of birth, where the five planets were, and what are the moon phases, etc. These all require huge celestial bodies. Knowledge is by no means the only way to judge that person’s personality and extraordinary charm is based on Libra alone.
The above said so much, not to believe that the previous astrology is more accurate, but to clarify that the previous astrology requires a lot of astronomical data as the basis for calculations. This encourages astrologers to observe the movement of stars in detail and continue to develop mathematical theories. Revise the star table to make more accurate predictions. Therefore, the facts of ancient astrology greatly promoted the development of astronomy and mathematics.
Until the Middle Ages, astrology finally developed into the most brilliant and flourishing knowledge. At the university, if you were going to study astronomy, mathematics, and medicine, astrology was a required course. At that time, medicine believed that both the origin of the disease and the treatment method could obtain important information from astrology. For example, the time of bloodletting should be carried out in consideration of the astrological calendar. The various mathematics required by astrology (such as calculating planetary trajectories, weather prediction) have become theoretical knowledge that astronomy and mathematics students must understand. This is why “mathematics” and “astrologer” were at the time Are synonyms.
Today, we read about Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler (Johannes Kepler). They are all known as key figures in astronomy and modern scientific revolution, and representatives of scientific reason. But what is less known is that Kepler was the emperor’s imperial astrological consultant; Galileo specialized in astrology in the University Department of Medicine, and fortune-telling for the nobles at the time; in fact, all three of them had studied astrology at the university. Only by learning relevant knowledge can you become an outstanding astronomer.
Seventeenth Century: The Decline of Astrology
However, these three astronomers who made their debut with astrology finally joined forces to destroy one of the foundations of astrology: the geocentric theory. One of the most striking is the astrologer, Baptiste. The fierce debate between Jean-Baptiste Morin and Galileo and Copernicus and the final loss of this public debate by Morin also heralded the decline of astrology (Robert Alan Hatch, 2017; R Vermij, 2017).
Since the 17th century, astrology and astronomy started to go their separate ways. The former was gradually abandoned by astronomers, the public and public institutions, and universities no longer taught astrology. Astrology was officially expelled from science. Why did astrology undergo such dramatic changes after the 17th century? Contemporary historians are still studying, but most of them think that the reason is not as some scientists take for granted. It is simply based on the “superstition” of astrology and the victory of “scientific reason”.
Of course, historians admit that the various new discoveries in astronomy make people increasingly doubt the authenticity of astrology; but in addition, historians believe that the criticism of astrology by religious reformers and the rise of mechanistic metaphysics, Both aspects make people cast aside astrology on a larger scale.
Is astrology a pseudoscience? (1) Karl Popper’s Falsification Theory
It is often thought-provoking to look at something from history. Who would have thought that astrology used to be a compulsory subject in universities, but now it has become the preferred example of pseudoscience? Who would have thought that astrology did not lag behind in the 18th century, but suddenly resurrected in the 20th century, and it was widely welcomed by the world? Scientists advocate that astrology is a pseudo-science, but it seems that there is no way to restore this trend.
Is astrology really pseudoscience? When we say it is pseudoscience, what are the reasons? Philosopher of science Karl. Karl Popper’s Falsificationism is the most commonly cited by scientists to prove that astrology is a pseudoscience. According to Popper, when a theory is undeniable, then it is not science. As the predictions of astrologers are generally vague, astrologers often deliberately ignore negative evidence and add various “ad hoc assumptions” to preserve their theories, making astrology impossible to prove, so astrology is not a science.
But historically, the view that “astrology cannot make potentially falsified predictions” is wrong. Kuhn (Thomas Kuhn) rightly pointed out that in the Middle Ages, astrologers were seriously engaged in astrological research, and they did come up with verifiable predictions. At that time, astrologers found that their predictions were not on time, and most of them admitted that they failed. (Paul R. Thagard, 1978; R Vermij, 2017; Alan F. Chalmers, 2013; Daryn Lehoux, 2003)
Then, the predictions of astrology are often disproved. Can it be shown that it is non-scientific? Here, we should distinguish between the two concepts of “falsified” and “non-scientific.” Even if astrology is currently rejected by many pieces of evidence, it does not mean that astrology is not a science. Because even the best scientific theories will have unresolved problems in history, and there will also be observational evidence or experimental results that are not conducive to their own. Therefore, if we accept this reason to exclude astrology from science, it is inevitable to regard certain specific and awaiting improvements in physics and biology as non-scientific for the same reason. This conclusion is really hard to swallow.
Is astrology a pseudoscience? (2) Thomas Kuhn’s conventional science and paradigm
Although Kuhn does not agree with Popper’s falsification theory, he also believes that astrology is not a science. According to Kongen, the reason why astrology is not a science is that it lacks the paradigm-led puzzle-solving activities in conventional science. (Paul R. Thagard, 1978; Alan F. Chalmers, 2013)
Kongen believes that any conventional science has its paradigm (Paradigm). The paradigm is composed of some universal theoretical assumptions, laws, and their application methods, and these theoretical assumptions, laws, and application methods are all accepted by members of a certain scientific community. The paradigm is to establish some standards in the scientific work it controls. The members of the community engaged in research within the framework of this paradigm are all engaged in what Kongen calls “conventional science.” To put it simply, whether a theory is scientific depends on whether it conforms to a model theory and methodology agreed by a certain scientific community, to try to solve certain problems.
Kongen wants us to compare the differences between astronomy and astrology. If astronomers fail to predict, they can improve their observation equipment, test possible interference, and then conduct experiments; astronomers use intricate work to try to eliminate the problems caused by the original prediction failure. This common puzzle-solving procedure is exactly what Kongen said. However, astrologers lack the same method (common paradigm) to learn and improve after prediction failure. In other words, when astrology encounters puzzles and difficulties, astrologers do not have a common paradigm to revise astrological theories. They can at best explain why the prediction fails, but there is no scientific practice. In this sense, Kongen believes that even if stars can really affect the trajectory of human life, astrology is not a science.