Sunday, January 27, 2008


Looking for something else I came across this excellent little passage:

Astrology, to cite but one example, is frequently cast in the role of an outmoded competitor to modern astronomy. This is a misunderstanding of the function that astrology plays in people’s lives. Astronomy is about planets, stars, and galaxies; astrology, however, is about me, and the special place I have in the grand cosmic scheme. It explains my unique personality, my special hopes and desires. From astronomy I learn that I am but an insignificant creature in some minor corner of the universe; astrology tells me I am someone unique and important. In this respect, astrology does not function as an alternative to scientific astronomy, but as a rival to the personal support provided by religion.

Dennis Dutton, The Cold Reading Technique. There is a great deal else of interest in the essay.