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January 14th, 2011

gfish: (Default)
Friday, January 14th, 2011 02:37 pm
(What follows is not entirely tolerant. Sorry. I've gone back and forth on whether I should post it, but in the end this is something I do actually feel strongly about.)

There has been a surprising amount of coverage about someone's proposal that the zodiac be changed. Which, yes, it annoys me that so much coverage has been given to silly made-up stuff. But we live in a pluralistic society, live and let live, etc. As long as you aren't using your Ptolemaic worldview to make important decisions for other people, I guess I don't really care. I understand in the abstract how someone could believe in it, at least. But what I don't get is believing something, and not bothering to actually learn about it. The precession of the equinoxes is not new, people. It has been well understood for 150 years, and the underlying principles are as old as Western astrology. The fact that the "sun signs" have drifted is simply common knowledge, has been all my life. How can you simultaneously believe that astronomical motion has massive, direct, personal effects on your life and not bother to learn the most basic facts behind it? I mean, taking astrology as a given, axial precession is a really interesting and important thing! It's slow, but still visible across recorded history. You could do longitudinal studies of the changing astrological influences on people across the last several thousand years! Likewise retrograde motion. Sure, it looks weird when a planet within our orbit appears to go backwards. But now that we know why that happens, surely it would be more relevant to pay attention to when Earth is retrograde as seen from Mars!

If you're going to believe something, take the time to do it right. Science isn't a specific set of beliefs, it's a tool set for understanding things. If can't even be bothered to use those tools, don't expect me to take your beliefs seriously. You obviously don't.