Horoscopes: What’s up with that?

Natalie Jew and Daisy Elliot

Astrology holds a correlation between the placement of planets and stars, and their effect on human affairs. In astrology, someone’s personality, feelings, behavior and sometimes future can be read through their horoscope sign – the position of certain celestial bodies at the time of their birth.

There is no science backing up astrology, yet, 33 percent of Americans believe in astrology, according to Huffington Post.

Science Curriculum Coordinator Ed Wiser describes the difference between astronomy, a real science, and astrology, a pseudoscience.

“Astronomy is the study of objects in the sky – planets, comets, meteors, stars, galaxies, the universe’s reserve for cosmology. Astrology is along the lines of making connections that cannot be scientifically challenged – because they’re just predictions in the future – based on positions of objects in the sky,” Wiser said. “It’s all crap. When Mars is in retrograde, you’re not going to have a bad day.”

For senior Eva Blashkevich, astrology is a type of belief system.

“As someone who considers myself an atheist, I do think there’s a higher power,” Blashkevich said, “but it does not necessarily have to be a God.”

Throughout history, people have been looking to the sky for answers, and according to Wiser this is how astrology was started.

“Astrology was created before we even knew what the whole entire universe was. People didn’t know about galaxies when they started making astrology. They were just trying to come up with an explanation of what stars were at night.”

Though astrology is a pseudoscience, Wiser believes there are aspects of social science to it.

“As humans we constantly look for patterns. One of the earliest things babies do is recognize a face, and then smell, and they know that that’s mom and that’s dad,” Wiser said. “There’s a part of human behavior where we hope to see something in patterns because we’ve evolved to use that to our advantage. But you have to realize that there’s a limit to that and astrology goes way beyond that. It’s all made up. I don’t see any connection between a human looking up at the sky or tea leaves and seeing a pattern.”

Astrology is sometimes looked at through the lens of astronomy. Wiser, however, uses a butterfly effect type of hypothesis to contradict an astrological theory of the full moon.

“On the full moon, there is a lot of extra light at night. People tend to sleep less deep and maybe have more disrupted sleep, therefore they behave certain ways. A lot of people feel as though at a hospital ER, there are more visits during the full moon. I used to know a guy who was bartender and he would always take the full moon off because people are just really crazy,” Wiser said. “But it goes either way. People do get affected – is that because of something mystical in the moon or is that the nature of our sleep patterns?”

Blashkevich believes there is a science to astrology because of the importance of a person’s birthdate.

“If you were born in a colder season and climate, you are going to have different characteristics than a person who was born in a warmer season and climate. Whether that is biological or not, I am in the school of thought that there is a correlation between one’s personality, the stars, planet alignment and when you were born,” Blashkevich said.

The connection between birthdays and the effects on humans can be seen from a study on mental illnesses. Psychology Today said that schizophrenics were more likely to have birthdays in Feb., many people with bipolar disorder have birthdays in winter and early spring, and Dyslexia is more common in babies with summer birthdays. The studies have shown that in the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, so too are the effects.

Wiser said his father once had a horoscope which happened later that day.

My dad was really superstitious. He used to get detailed horoscopes. He would really look into it and I always thought it was pretty funny. He did claim that on the day my mother died, when I was a kid, that his horoscope read ‘this will be the worst day of your life,”’ Wiser said. “But he never showed me that horoscope so I don’t really believe it. I’m a science guy.”

Blashkevich uses her horoscope to look back on her day.

“I like reading it at the end of the day as opposed to the beginning of the day. If you read it at the beginning of the day, you may end up doing things solely because of your horoscope. However, if you read it at the end of the day, you can reflect on how well it matched your day,” Blashkevich said.

Senior Emily Jack said that stars can have an influence on society.

“Even if astrology is not real, humans live a life that is full of social construct, so why would stars be any less valid to make conclusions about any other social construct?” Jack said. “I think it is way more spiritual than scientific. It has been proven it is a pseudoscience, but I do not think that makes it any less legitimate.”