TIL that a double-blind study which was published in Nature showed that experienced astrologers are no better at determining people’s psychological traits based on the location of the stars during their birth than someone who is randomly guessing them.

TIL that a double-blind study which was published in Nature showed that experienced astrologers a...

Did not need a double blind study to tell me that matters of divination are imagined fantasies.

You're such a Taurus.

It's a trick study, both groups are randomly guessing.

Sounds like more of an Escort to me.

While the results are probably not surprising to people here, the way they debunked it was methodical and noteworthy.

Paper abstract (from: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1986-30007-001 ):

Tested the accuracy of astrological natal charts in describing the personality traits of 193 Ss (aged 17+ yrs). In Exp I, Ss provided information from which their natal charts and interpretations were constructed by astrologers. Each S then attempted to select his/her own natal chart interpretation from a group consisting of his/her own and 2 others. In Exp II, the astrologers were separately given the natal chart of a random S and a California Psychological Inventory (CPI) description of the S's personality traits along with CPI descriptions of 2 other Ss. The astrologers selected the 2 CPIs (1st and 2nd choice) that described personalities closest to the personality indicated by the natal chart. The astrologers also rated the CPIs for closeness of fit to the natal chart descriptions. Results indicate that Ss and astrologers scored at a level consistent with chance. The data support arguments against natal astrology as practiced by astrologers.

My dad is an astronomer, and it is shocking to me how many people have asked him to give them a reading. Sometime I wish he just would, and apparently, he would be just as good as a real astrologer!

the way they debunked it was methodical and noteworthy.

I think a lot of commenters here are are failing to realize this. Of course it is obvious that astrology is bunk, but a thorough reasoned refutation is good to have.

Come on dude. You just need more Focus.

I used to work at an observatory in college and I can confirm this! I'd occasionally get a visit from "professional" astrologers and they usually felt entitled to a formal discussion reconciling the differences between astronomy and astrology.

That discussion always ended up being a projection of their desire to self-justify their pseudoscience. They wanted validation from me and I never gave it.

Studies generally don't seek to prove a certain hypothesis, they seek to disprove it.

More likely someone that was sick of their shit. Like those studies that people had to do to prove homeopathy was bullshit too.

To be kind, we could say that one group is guessing randomly but the other group (the divinators) are guessing arbitrarily.

I need to Escape this thread.

Having established facts readily available can help to prevent those who aren't sure of the issue from falling to the wrong side. Having facts and solid proof is never bad.

I disagree. It's like trying to argue with someone who doesn't believe in the moon landing. Facts carry no weight with them.

Science is not about what you believe, but what you can test and know.

A true scientist would be interested to know if and how astrology was true. True scientists did a test and found out it was bollocks. That they beforehand suspected it was bollocks isn't the point, the point is there is someone who said "Astrology is valid and I believe it" and they tested it with a proper methodology and found out that "Astrology is not valid because we have data to show it is no different from chance".

The difference between those position is as large as the universe.

And would it scientifically not have been very interesting to find out that Astrology does have merit? If you had said from the start "I do not believe it and do not have to test it" you never had the chance to find out something you did not know.

All that is why proper science.


We do a double blind study every year in my class where we compare the results of reading the published horoscope from today's paper to the wrong sign's horoscope from a different paper. In over 20 years of trials it has never shown a significant difference once.

Who would even fund a study like this?

Someone who REALLY wants Astrology to be considered factual and scientific.

On a Mustang?

I find it hilarious when people post on facebook this pictures that say something like "Calm, but will go crazy at a moment's notice"

Then goes to name off 6 or 7 of the signs.

That's not how probability works. Even if there's a 1 in 20 random chance of there being a significant difference, it does not mean that you have to see a significant difference after 20 times.

Actually, I get you, but that's how we achieve science.

Let's Explorer this conundrum.

Seriously. Oh traditional Chinese medicine says those weeds cure malaria? Despite no plausible mechanism of action? Let see! Huh... it actually works.... Yoink. Its not Traditional Chinese medicine any more it's medicine now. Call the molecular biologist. Ah thats how it works! Now we made it better!

How it relates to us is that it doesn't relate to us at all

No, this study is the logic that makes science work. If someone says he can magically see your future based on the stars it is not scientific to just dismiss it. It is scientific to test it.

Leave him alone you Cancer jerk.

It's time for this joke to Transit onto something else

Plenty of possibilities to Probe.

it's kind of surprising how many people need to hear this -- and you'll know this fact is making a dent in reality when the horoscopes disappear from web and newspapers.

and now for the real reason horoscopes exist: it's cheap psychological entertainment. it is enjoyed by many who don't really believe it -- like religion.

You could have just checked their tea leaves or read there palms.

And not just for trying to convince others. What if this study did prove that astrologists had a noticeably better chance at determining traits? Nothing should be taken as certain until imperically proven (and even then have a sliiiiight bit of doubt). That's how science works

My chicken bones and goats innards were confused.

a thorough reasoned refutation is good to have

And will convince no one who wants to believe.

No shit!

Oh come on. It's a Fiesta!

Fuck off you quarius

it is enjoyed by many who don't really believe it -- like religion.

I concur. Your comment reminded me of an expression: "nobody believes in astrology but everybody knows their sign."

How far did the conversation go after you brought up the gradual shifting of the heavens?

Meaning an actual practitioner of astrology.

Typical Leo.

What's sad is we can not have some fun and read about astrology and how it relates to us. There are always morons that want to use astrology to make major decisions. What more pathetic is sometimes they are elected.

I dunno. I have dated a gemini. It's fucking crazy if you know what I mean.

Brown University does not have a department for astrology. Also, and this is pretty important, you can't get a doctorate in a made up field.

It's almost as if the people interested in this stuff are complete whackos!

No it isn't. An n of 193, is absolutely big enough.

It's a Fusion of puns and cars.

They claim it was fair but the CPIs were way too low to provide decent results as the chance for randomly guessing was 1 in 3. Especially since it counted all three tiers of guesses amongst a massive sample size, if 2/3 are wrong then you are ALWAYS going to have more wrong answers than right answers. The first two choices also made up 86/114 correct selections when one of the possible guesses was a variant not born within three years of the other two subjects (who were), whose astrological charts would be much closer. In fact, the correct selection had a higher rate of being done on the first choice.

This study may have followed the scientific method but it has as much validity as the countless studies claiming video games make people violent. Whether Astrology is real or not is moot when the study clearly set out to prove what it wanted to prove.

Here's the pdf for anyone that wants to actually read the study.

EDIT: Some punctuation.

While I support studies like this, I think you're going a little far. You're not full of shit for dismissing a crazy person's claim that unicorns are trying to steal their teeth. You're just not able to say you've proven they're wrong, is all.

They think science suppresses it. I have a friend who is into homeopathy and told me about some experiment done with "happy water" and "sad water" ... the short version of this is some guy played 'happy' music near water and played 'sad' music near different water. The happy music water made plants grow, sad music water killed them. Supposedly.

Anyway, he says, "This is SCIENTIFIC PROOF that homeopathy works, so anytime anyone tells you it doesn't work, you know they're full of shit. Mainstream science is scared of homeopathy because it'll bankrupt the pharmaceutical companies, so they lie and try to convince you it's BS, and this is undeniable proof it works." Um, all right?

I pointed out to him that there isn't any control in this experiment (something should have been watered with regular water, not the 'modified' water), so it doesn't prove anything, the experiment is invalid. I'm sure there's other problems with it, but lack of a control is the first thing that came to me. His response? "See, that's mainstream science trying to screw with you. You don't need anything except the happy and sad water, because you can see what it does. Don't listen to that bullshit mainstream science throws at you. They're completely controlled by the government who doesn't want homeopathy getting out." I gave up at this point.

As long as it's sold as your life/purpose/future is in the stars, it will never have value. Charging for these "services" is predatory on the people who want to believe this nonsense.

Could you explain a little bit how it's "fun?"

Doctorate in astrology

Uh huh...

How can they get away with ignoring science so much? If astrology and homeopathy are as popular as it seems, there's a lot of willfully stupid people out there with too much disposable income.

so can I

Without the double blind study, you're making baseless claims. Just like the astrologists.

Providing ecidence is the difference between facts and bullshit. It doesn't matter which side you're on, if you don't have evidence then you're full of shit.

Astrology makes empirical claims, and is therefore subject to empirical examination. You can appeal to "philosophy" and "metaphor" all you like, but when you make testable claims about a person's traits or future, those excuses are completely irrelevant.

Yep, but to tell the two apart, you need to test them in a double-blind study.

Go home Hermione

No, we do. It has none.

Please don't mistake me for someone who believes that the force of plot exists in real life.

You'd have to first demonstrate that astrology actually existed at all before attempting to understand it. There would have to actually be a phenomenon that could be examined. This study moves toward demonstrating that there isn't.

Butthurt astrologist detected

This thread is really on the cutting edge.

And I think they wanted some sort of linkage to science through astronomy. In the context of that job I had, I was viewed as a representative of the science department of the university. So if I were to acknowledge anything they believed, it would give them the impression that "someone from the science department" confirmed their beliefs if that makes sense.

They wanted to use me like a life-raft to science because I think you're right about them knowing. They weren't stupid people per se, some of them were definitely intelligent enough to know it's pseudo. And for those ones, I think they desperately wanted some link to science through astronomy. In their mind they knew science was a better foundation for logic/reason.

That's irrelevant to astrologers who use the tropical zodiac, which I think is most

Typical Pisces

LOL... props to your dad for being educated, but shame on him for not playing along.

Fun fact, every one of Trelawney's predictions comes true.

Yeah, great point. Science is pretty much forming a hypothesis, then testing the shit out of that hypothesis to prove or disprove it. But it can definitely be argued that a lot of studies were done because someone wanted to prove its validity, not the other way around.


I'm a Capricorn, so I don't believe in astrology.

"single paper"

Buddy I think you need to do some simple googling if you think that just one paper had been done to disprove the testable claims that astrologists make.

Edit: also, just because astrology has been around for "millennia" doesn't make it right. Tradition as an argument for continuing any practice isn't an argument at all.

That's not true. A research doctorate also has to be recognized by the national science foundation in the US.

The benefits of living in a crafted fictional universe.

On the other hand, how many times has Nostradamus or any other prophet been proven reliably correct? Answer: No more than chance.

Such a Libra.

But I mean, it is more accurate than randomly guessing. It's not science, few will argue that it is, but it's not as if it's random. It's just a way of fairly casually categorizing personalities.

You cannot be reasoned out of a position you were never reasoned into

"all too more complicated than that"

I can see why the very basic principles of the scientific method escape you

We know what is science and what is not science. Astrology is as much a science as Harry Potter is a true biographical work. We can even trace astrology back to it's roots to prove that. It's my understanding that at some point, a long time ago, the ancient Babylonians assigned meaning to the figures that constellations/planets represented. These meanings were based on fiction. Astrology is based on something based on fiction. Astrology is fiction.

At most, you could argue the figures were theological, thereby rooting astrology in theology. To that, I say again... It is not based in science.

Edit: words are hard

Heres some random bullshit to make you feel like a special snowflake, awwwww thanks :D Great now get back to work!

Don't forget /sub/astrology exists and is full of idiots.

"a real astrologer"