CSICOP's Library & Research Center

Some of the first humans on earth, through their curiosity and wonder, began making correlations with the skies above and the earth below. Much of this provided practical knowledge, such as learning that the changing of seasons had a connection with the phases of the moon, that the lengths of day and night had something to do with the sun, etc. Because they were right about some of their ideas, they thought maybe all behaviors and events on earth had their origin in celestial phenomena.. They began to see cause and effect in almost everything and proposed the idea that the heavens created and influenced all events on earth. They began to see objects in the sky made by the pattern of stars and they developed great mythologies to explain and provide names and stories for these patterns. Later they would extend their ideas to human beings and propose that the position of the stars at a person�s time of birth would influence the personality and the entire future of that individual. Links were even made between star constellations - also known as the zodiac - and certain body parts. Many ancient civilizations used the constellations as guides. They could learn direction by watching the stars and moon, tell time and keep track of the cycles. They also used the formations, often thought to hold magical powers and properties, to build city structures around. The Giza pyramids of Egypt, for instance, are thought to have been built in alignment with Orion�s belt. Astrology is still used today by many fortune-tellers, new-agers and horoscope columnists.
Astrology, like alchemy and many other ancient practices, did provide useful and accurate knowledge that helped build science but when science broke away, it left a pseudoscience in its place that also continued to grow. The patterns that are seen in the sky are interesting and are great fun to find on a starry night but the idea that they are somehow connected to our own personality and future has never been substantiated over the millennia that astrology has existed. Horoscopes are so general and vague that they can apply to a diverse number of people with different birth dates and most people can find something in their "astrological reading" that applies to them. Many people have tested horoscopes by distributing random examples to see how many people will believe it applies to them and more often than not we find that everyone finds connections. This shows how vague and general they can be. Though celestial bodies close to the earth, like the moon and sun, can affect the planet, stars are many light years away and their effect on our planet has proven negligible.
CSICOP Resources
Skeptical Inquirer Online Articles

Alternative Medicine, Impact Threats, Abrupt Climate Change, and Efficient Energy
How the Moon Affects You (book review)


Skeptical Briefs Online Articles
Skeptiseum Online Exhibits
Other Online Resources
The Skeptic Report: ��Psychics
Skeptic's Dictionary: ��Astrology
Tampa Bay Skeptics: ��What's Your Sign?
Australian Skeptics: ��Astrology Overview
Annals of Improbable Research: ��An Astrology Chart for Bacteria
pHACT: ��Astrology
Jim Lippard's Pages: ��Astrology
sci.skeptic FAQ: ��Astrology
PHACTUM: ��Astrology
Annapolis Valley Skeptics: ��True Astrology
Pro-Paranormal Online Resources

Young Skeptics Topic Database
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