Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Interactive science series: 15 :Why Astrology is pseudo-science
Why Astrology is a Fool’s paradise
If anyone from the scientific community still believes in irrational things, that means the person is unable to overcome his or her cultural/ religious/emotional conditioning of his/her mind with scientific reasoning and cannot do full justice to his or her field.
DD (an observer): What if he/she is convinced that Astrology is not logical, not science but a matter of faith and belief. he keeps them separate from his scientific thoughts. What then?
By an extension of what you said does a scientist believing in God or religion also “ …..is not fit to be a scientist.” ?
Note : I am not in favor of astrology, However I feel that a person can keep faith and profession insulated. I am not challenging what you said. Just seeking clarification on your views.
Krishna: True scientists cannot tolerate cognitive dissonance ( science doesn't allow for the holding of two contradictory positions). They must choose the facts and stick to them.
You shouldn't reason backward from belief to evidence because that will subject you to numerous cognitive biases and you risk fooling yourself about the nature of reality. And if a scientist is after facts, irrational thoughts would definitely interfere with his cognitive abilities as a scientist.
Read my article on this here:
It is extremely difficult, especially when one is facing difficult times, low in confidence and in a high confusion state to keep things separate. They will definitely interfere with one another. Why? Read here:
DD: Thanks for the reply, Dr. Truly convincing!
SJ (A person who practices Astrology): Generally humans believe in Astrology, be it a scientist or a doctor ..just because you achieve a Ph.D does not give anybody a right to disbelieve a proven science. . Ignorance is a bliss. .... personally have seen many scientists and doctors ..professors wearing gemstones. ..well that does not make them into a lesser individual. Look here I am providing lists of professors and scientists who visit us.
Some scientists do believe in irrational things because they are not trained properly in critical thinking and are unable to overcome fear, confusion and chaos in their personal lives. That is why we are in such a situation here. And they give you ammunition to fight with us who are trained in the right way.
If some scientists ( doctors are not scientists ) are doing what you say, it means they are unable to think critically which is essential for scientific research and that makes them unfit for the job. As a person belonging to the research field I know what is essential and what is not here.If a person cannot differentiate between science and pseudo-science, facts and irrational beliefs, how can s/he do justice to her/his job and trained field?
NT (An Astrologer): Pseudo science?? Well I know the modern scientist doesn't believe much in what our ancestors say but many practices were based on Shastra including astrology.
Those scientists were far knowledgeable than today's scientist. Many people studying astronomy in India do refer to astrology to find out the position of stars and planets as on a particular day and time. And as far as having its effect on us do try to refer the following link
Atleast read the last two paragraphs regarding astrology and how science is involved in it.
I know you don't like to argue much ; but telling astrology as a pseudo science is a wrong thing. By saying that you meant to say that our forefathers scientist even before vedic period were fools as compared to current scientist. No they weren't. And I have met a profound astrologer who could correctly tell the death of a person also. It's about having knowledge about astrology and people who dont have it laugh on it.
You must first understand that the word 'shastra' doesn't mean 'science' in modern terms. Science is evidence based and you have to show proof. Just saying something you believe in doesn't stand up to modern science. Astrology is about 3,000 to 5,000 year old and it continues to use astrology charts that are thousands of years old. As the earth rotates on its axis, the stars move from the East to the West around the point in the sky above the north and south poles. If the north and south poles are moved, then the motion of the stars change.
Thanks to Earth's wobble, astrological signs are, well, off the mark! (Or even more rubbish than you might expect.) Astrological signs are determined by the position of the sun relative to certain constellations on a person's day of birth. The problem is, the positions were determined more than 2,000 years ago. Nowadays, the stars have shifted in the night sky so much that horoscope signs are nearly a month off! Astrology tells us that the sun is in one position, whereas astronomy tells us it's in another position! The shift is caused by precession, the wobble in the Earth's axis caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon to the Earth's equator. The gap between the astrological and the astronomical view is huge.
The Earth is like a wobbly top. As it rotates, its axis swings in a circle, pointing in different directions. As the Earth's position shifts, so does our perspective of the night sky.
Using the sky charts used by most astrologers, the sun is not where it is supposed to be. For example, according to astrology on August 27th (my birth date), the sun is supposed to be in Virgo. It is actually in Leo! So ancient astrology says I am a Virgo, but the new study says I am a Leo! According to recent thinking and observations, 86% of people in the world now have new Zodiacal signs! Aha! In its educational page for children (Space Place , Ref 1), NASA discusses how 3000 years ago the ancient Babylonians were keen sky watchers and thought that the changing positions of constellations throughout the year could be linked to certain behaviours or events on Earth. These thoughts of course have no scientific basis what so ever. Astrology is not Astronomy! But some people still think Astrology is very scientific.
And so they invented the zodiac - the circle of 12 constellations based on the apparent path that the Sun takes across an imagined celestial sphere over the course of the year.
"So, as Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun would appear to pass through each of the 12 parts of the zodiac," Space Place explains. "Since the Babylonians already had a 12-month calendar (based on the phases of the Moon), each month got a slice of the zodiac all to itself."
But seeing as this happened 3,000 years ago, things were a bit arbitrary, and for whatever reason, the Babylonians left a constellation out of their zodiac - Ophiuchus.
"Even then, some of the chosen 12 didn't fit neatly into their assigned slice of the pie and slopped over into the next one". To make a tidy match with their 12-month calendar, the Babylonians ignored the fact that the Sun actually moves through 13 constellations, not 12.
Because of a tiny wobble in Earth’s axis, the constellations are no longer in the same position in the sky as they were 3,000 years ago. This wobble in the axis is super subtle - it takes 26,000 years to wobble around once - but the effects can build into something noticeable.
"On the June solstice 2,000 years ago, the Sun was sitting almost halfway between Gemini and Cancer. On this year’s June solstice, the Sun will be sitting between Gemini and Taurus. In the year 4609, the June solstice point will pass out of the constellation Taurus and into the constellation Aries."
Watch this video to learn how complicated the earth's movement through space is...
So, how can you fix something and connect it to people's destiny? Impossible!
Some astrologers say the concept of Ayanamasha correction can counter this.
"The Calendar Reform Committee has proposed the adoption of 23d 15m 0s as Ayanamsa in order to avoid opposition from the public. The Chaitra school too has come into being in order to avoid public opposition. Neither of these, however, is in conformity with the truth." S.K.Kar on Chitra paksha Ayanamsa
Western Astrologers Fagan and Bradley computed it at 24 degrees in 1950; however, there are various values in use in India. While the general consensus among Western siderealists is that the star Alcyon represents the first point of Aries, differences arise because of the indefinite ancient boundaries of the constellation of Aries. Indian definition of astrological signs is not based on constellations but on equal angular division of sky, which makes it difficult to define signs in terms of stars and constellations. This is the source of controversy about ayanamsha.
No ayanamsha practised by astrologers truly represents the real corrections that are needed by the changes in signs because of Earth’s movements .
One scientist recently gave me this explanation about constellations:
What we see as collections of stars are no such thing - it is just a matter of perspective.
Let’s take a simple example – the “constellation” Gemini. The stars in Gemini and their distances from Earth are :
Castor : 52 Light years
Pollux : 34 Light years
Athena : 105 Light years
Wasat : 59 Light years
Mebsuta : 900 Light years
Mekbuda : 1200 Light years
Propus : 380 Light years
K Gem : 143 Light years
V Gem : 550 Light years
See the problem? We are seeing the light from these stars at an utterly irrelevant point of convergence, and to our eyes there is a pattern, a pretty pattern of dots that we have joined up to create a picture, a picture that simply does not exist. Seen from any other angle in three dimensional space they would look like exactly what they are – a meaningless jumble of bright lights in the night sky.
Further, we are seeing these stars not where they are in the cosmos but where they were decades or even centuries ago. Doubtless it is all very comforting to believe that we can tell our future or even make plans based on a wholly non-existent confluence of these massive balls of incandescent plasma and gas tens of trillions of kilometres away, but there is no science, logic, intelligence or even common sense behind it.
One star which 's 1000o light years away might have emitted some light you see now 10000 light years back and collapsed and disintegrated now and another one which 's 5000 light years away might have emitted that light 5000 light years back and still burning. Although you see both the lights at the same time on Earth, they might have originated at different times and thousands of years apart by one dead and one living stars! Then how can they be connected like astrologers do?
Even if the astrological signs were stable, there's no evidence the stars have anything to do with people's day-to-day existence. One 2006 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences used data from more than 15,000 people and found no relationship between date of birth and personality . Despite the complete lack of scientific and observational evidence for astrology, several people believe in it.
Many scientific studies have been made, and they all show that astrology is no more accurate than chance would have it in making predictions.
Some Indian scientists too have tried to test astrology predictions (2). Their experiment with twenty-seven Indian astrologers judging forty horoscopes each, and a team of astrologers judging 200 horoscopes, showed that none were able to tell bright children from mentally handicapped children better than chance. Their results contradict the claims of Indian astrologers and are consistent with the many tests of Western astrologers. In summary, their results are firmly against Indian astrology being considered as a science.
And I stick with science, not pseudo-science.
Another thing I want to point out here ... According to Einstein's General Relativity, gravity bends light. So the stars, other celestial bodies and constellations may not actually be there where we see them! If the object which deflects the light is quite massive, you have a phenomenon called strong gravitational lensing by which the image of an object is displaced from its original position. A typical example of such an object is the so called (so named because the phenomenon finds an explanation in Einstein's general Theory of Relativity).
Sir Arthur Eddington observed such light deflection by the gravity of our own sun by looking at the star field near a sun during a solar eclipse, one of the first experiments to confirm effects predicted by General Relativity. The effects are minimal for viewing most objects within our galaxy.
It is possible to observe extreme instances of it in distant galaxy clusters where the light from distant objects behind the cluster may be severely bent, so much that multiple distorted images of the same object may appear in the sky!
According to Physicists - when we look at the sky we use the apparent (angular) positions of things to infer something about their location in space. In so doing we assume that the spacetime along the line of sight has the same properties as spacetime on average, which is to say flat, or asymptotically so. If this assumption is false, say because of local mass concentrations along the line of sight, then you will get an incorrect estimate of the object's location. It's not unreasonable to describe this situation as "the object is not where we see it."
Objects distorted by gravitational lensing are "not where we see them" in the same sense that "Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear." That is to say, when you look at a distant object, you reconstruct its position based on the light you are seeing and on assumptions about the path that the light took to get to you. If those assumptions are wrong, then the position you infer will be wrong too.
Thus, if you assume that your rear-view mirror is flat, when it is in fact curved, you'll infer the wrong position for the car behind you (it's "closer than it appears"). Similarly, if you assume that the line of sight to a distant galaxy is empty of mass, when in fact it is not, you might make incorrect inferences about its shape and position. So, maybe a better way of saying it is that gravitational distortion may cause you to misinterpret what you're seeing.
Moreover, the answer to the Q "Are stars literally in the same place we see them to be?" the answer is no, even without considering relativistic effects, since they've moved some distance in the time taken for their light to reach us here on earth. When you look into the night sky, you are looking back in time.The stars we see in the night sky are very far away from us, so far the star light we see has taken a long time to travel across space to reach our eyes. This means whenever we look out into the night and gaze at stars we are actually experiencing how they looked in the past.
If instead, the question means "were stars literally in the same place we see them to be ?", the answer is again no, and perhaps a good example is distant quasars, where the bending of light doesn't just change the position of the image, but creates copies, so that we end up seeing multiple images of the same object.
In such situations it becomes somewhat difficult to see exact positions of stars and their constellations in the sky like the astrologers want to see at the time of birth of a person to predict his future based on this. All that we see is actually an illusionary picture!
(However, astrophysicists can calculate the exact location of a celestial body despite gravity lensing but not ordinary astrologers)Some experts used astrology as a case study to distinguish science from pseudoscience and proposed principles and criteria to delineate them. First, astrology has not progressed in that it has not been updated nor added any explanatory power since ages. Second, it has ignored outstanding problems such as the precession of equinoxes in astronomy. Third, alternative theories of personality and behaviour have grown progressively to encompass explanations of phenomena which astrology statically attributes to heavenly forces. Fourth, astrologers have remained uninterested in furthering the theory to deal with outstanding problems or in critically evaluating the theory in relation to other theories.
AG ( An observer): I cannot even begin to surmise how grateful and delighted I am after reading Dr. Krishna's answer and ALL the comments that she has made on this thread. I have been reading this topic and questions on this topic for about an hour now. Truly, the answers by Astrologers are more depressing than the question : Moolan Shastri, Sarp yog, manglika and what not. Krishna's answers, however, are like a beacon of light shining out of a Black Sea of ignorance…
Dr.Krishna, your answers made my day! You have convinced me that Astrology is a fool's paradise. I am banning it from my life forever.
Krishna : Glad to hear that. Thanks and need I add you too have made my day?!
One Astrologer: Astrology science is pseudo in nature, because it deals with too varied a subjects like fate, destiny, psychology etc etc and unites them together. This is unique, which science is not able to do. So 'Pseudo' is actually a feather in the cap of Astrology, than the normal science!
Krishna: Wah! What a comment! But what is the use? It doesn't work because it takes all wrong parameters into account and tries to cook up a destiny for a human being. It tries to link unrelated things like individual stars, constellations, planets with birth dates, lines in your palms and what not and creates a story of the future that most probably can never come true.
Other Astrologers: Silence!
SCIENTISTS' STRONG RECOMMENDATION
Go for a genetic horoscope matching not an astrological one before getting married:
Some of the Indian Astrologers say Indian Vedic Astrology is different from Western ones and is based on science. But what they themselves don't know is the phrase Vedic Astrology is an oxymoron since the prefix Vedic has nothing to do with the Vedas, the ancient and sacred literature of the Hindus, which do not mention astrology in the way we know it now! Go find out by reading vedas if you don't believe the scientists. In fact, scholars agree that the usual planetary astrology came to India with the Greeks who had visited India since Alexander’s campaign in the third century BC (2).
And even Indian scientists conducted experiments on Indian vedic astrology and found that it is pseudo-science. You will find the details here:
The zodiac was imported from the West
PS: I want to add here an interesting real story told by one of my colleagues...
It seems a very famous astrologer's wife was about to give birth. While she was being taken to a lobour room in a hospital, the astrologer gave money to one of the nurses and asked her to throw a lemon outside through the window - which should not be done actually - as soon as the baby was born.
The nurse obliged. Based on the time the lemon was thrown out of the window, the Astrologer prepared a horoscope for the girl. According to the astrologer's prediction, the first husband of the girl would die just two months after the marriage. Then she would marry another man and lives a very happy life.
Then when the girl was about 18, the astrologer thought ... 'Anyway the first husband of my daughter would die, why should I make her marry a good and healthy person? Let me get her a mentally retarded person who would be of no use and if he dies, nobody would be unhappy. After this person dies, I can search for a good groom and bring him as my second- son-in-law'. So he searched for such a mentally ill person and got his daughter married to him.
But... his mentally challenged son-in-law didn't die even after several years making his daughter suffer all through her life!
The astrologer regretted his bad decision based on his worst prediction throughout his life.
That is what Astrology is!
And recently a news paper here reported a story. Some people asked a very famous astrologer to come to their home and write horoscopes of their children. The astrologer went to their house only to get kidnapped. His family had to pay a lot to get him released. An astrologer could not predict his own kidnapping and fell into the trap like a fool!
Some People asked me to clearly define what science and pseudo-science are after reading this article.
Even a school child should be able to do this if he or she gets the right training. It is unfortunate to notice that even adults are asking me this Q. It is very disturbing to realize when graduates, Post-graduates and PhDs in science too can't differentiate one from the other.
If people search they will find the definitions in books and even on the genuine science sites on the net.
Anyway I am here to educate people. And if people ask me these questions, I will have to give answers.
Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Originally, the word "science" (from Latin scientia) generically meant "study", "investigation", and the "knowledge" coming from them. Only later it came to denote more specifically the application of the "scientific method". So modern definition of science takes into account confirmation of science by using scientific methods and methodologies.
Scientific method tells us what genuine science is and what it is not. Read here what scientific method is ...
To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.
I must also add that the above one does not represent full scientific method. Establishing a scientific fact using scientific methods that include reproduction of results, and using it again and again in our day today work with the best results, become total. However, we should also note that it is the best available knowledge and should be subjected to revision when new data arrives.
Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that are claimed to be both scientific and factual, but are incompatible with the scientific method. Pseudoscience is often characterized by contradictory, exaggerated or unfalsifiable claims; reliance on confirmation bias rather than rigorous attempts at refutation; lack of openness to evaluation by other experts; and absence of systematic practices when developing theories. The term pseudoscience is considered pejorative because it suggests something is being presented as science inaccurately or even deceptively. Those described as practicing or advocating pseudoscience often dispute the characterization
* Understanding the difference between methods and methodology is of paramount importance. Method is simply a research tool, a component of research– say for example, a qualitative method such as interviews. Methodology is the justification for using a particular research method.
Research methods comprise of the tools, strategies or techniques that are used in research. These could be questionnaires, surveys, interviews, participant observation or other feedback polls. Different scientific disciplines utilize different kinds of methods. For instance, a social science researcher might gather data by way of an interview, observation, auditory feedback or survey. An ecologist might want to track animals for population studies; a
taxonomist might count fish scales to differentiate among species; a geologist might adopt methods to quantify components within soil particles. Either way, whatever answers to 'what-did-they-use-in-the-study?', refers to methods. The methods section in a research article typically contains information related to methods of that particular study. This section also helps establish a valid standard for reporting methods and in turn this helps maintain some uniformity in science.
Methodology refers to the study of how research is done. It entails how we find out about procedures, and the manner in which knowledge is gained. Methodology outlines the principles that guide research practices. For instance, a textbook on multivariate statistics is likely to explain the science behind how and why we use the methods enlisted within and also guide the researcher on how to capitalize on said quantitative techniques; where those methods may be applicable and also circumstances where they would not be appropriate. Methodology therefore explains why we use x, y or z methods relevant to particular research. If we zone in on the etymology of the word 'methodology', it refers to 'method' + 'ology' . 'Ology' typically means a discipline of study or a branch of knowledge. Thus technically speaking, 'methodology' is considered to be (a combination of ology and method) a study of methods.
Research methods are the tools, techniques or processes or approaches that we use in our research. These might be, for example, surveys, interviews, Photovoice, or participant observation. Methods and how they are used are shaped by methodology. It is how you obtain the data - whether quantitative, qualitative, mixed research.
Methodology is the study of how research is done, how we find out about things, and how knowledge is gained. In other words, methodology is about the principles that guide our research practices. Methodology therefore explains why we’re using certain methods or tools in our research. In other words, it is your framework for approaching a research problem.
So, if people try to define science now using just old definition of it i.e., "study", "investigation", and the "knowledge" coming from them, modern day scientists don't accept it.
So subjects ending with words like shastra (roughly mean, science), Artha shastra (Economics), Jyotish shashtra ( Astrology) don't denote modern day science. They are 'studies' and 'knowledge' alright but don't stand the scrutiny of scientific methodology and methods.
And people are asking me the Q when we have this evidence that astrology doesn't work, why do people still think astrology can truly predict things?
My reply to all of them ... that is a psychological effect. The Barnum effect, also called the Forer effect, is a common psychological phenomenon whereby individuals give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically to them but that are, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.
Watch these videos that tell why people are so confused about it.
Read here an interesting story told by real astrologer: GUNA MILAN: THE FATAL FLAW OF INDIAN ASTROLOGY
This's what a famous astrologer predicted about Indo-Pak match (Champions Trophy, 2017):
Superior horoscope of Captain Virat Kohli compared to captain Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan.
Team India is likely to win the Champions Trophy on Sunday, according to renowned astrologer Greenstone Lobo, who predicts the results based on modern research and scientific methods. In an exclusive interview, he explains why India is likely to win the tournament.
1 Superior horoscope of Captain Virat Kohli compared to captain Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan. He has ‘Planet-Z’ (2008 FC-76) in deepest exaltation, which comes once in about 60 years. He is also going through a fabulous time now. His not winning the recent IPL tournament has kept his “karmic balance” intact.
2 Better astrological “balance” in the Indian team. Team India’s players are of the “right” age to win a tournament of this magnitude. Pakistan has too young a player in Shadab Khan, which tilts the balance.
3 The horoscope of Indian coach Anil Kumble is better than that of Pakistan’s coach Mickey Arthur.
Lobo adds, “Pakistan was destined to make the path easier for India. If England were the finalists against India, the team would have found it difficult to overcome them.” He further says, “The Pakistani team is very strong and can win an ICC tournament in the future, but for that, they would need Umar Akmal in the squad. His absence will impact the current event.”
Then after reading that I predicted that India would lose based on a scientific analysis.
And my prediction came true much to the annoyance of my friends and relatives!
Scientists just figured out what's causing Earth to wobble
Robert Ferris |
Saturday, 9 Apr 2016 |
Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth.
Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth.
Droughts are causing Earth to wobble on its axis, according to new research.
Scientists have long known that the axis on which the planet spins is prone to wavering, but some of the reasons have escaped understanding.
But researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say droughts and heavy periods of rain in different places around the planet are causing Earth to shake in space.
"We are going through this massive global-scale climate change, to such a degree that the change in climate has been strong enough to affect the rotation of such a giant planet," said study co-author Surendra Adhikari of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Since 2000, the Earth's axis has jumped eastward by about 7 inches a year, a "massive swing," Adhikari said. Another pattern of wobbling that occurs every six to 14 years has been vexing scientists for more than a century. The researchers examined both in their study.
The movements of the Earth's axis are crucial to understand, since they affect the performance of satellites and global positioning systems. The polar axis also could become a powerful indicator for scientists studying climate change, Adhikari said.
The team published its findings Friday in the peer-reviewed open access journal Science Advances.
I am having Kaal sarp dosh in Kundli what remedial measures should I do to make it away?
I have heard of this dosh extensively. But actually, in my own research and from what I have experienced, there is no such thing!! In fact, there is NO mention of this in Vedic texts. This is an idea that was generated much later by people who wanted to make money by fearing people and then fleecing them. Also if you research, you would find this exists in the horoscopes of a LOT of famous people! I have studied this in charts of many politicians, billionaire businessmen, film-stars etc. In fact Guru Nanak had it as well! So there really isn’t much wrong with having all your planets between Rahu and Ketu.
I know many people who have tried remedies for it and NOTHING has ever changed for any of them! And these remedies include the exclusive visits to the Temples of south to conduct the special pooja, doing Vagya etc. Nothing ever changed. So I have reached the conclusion, as any actual Vedic astrologer would tell you, that it does not have any effect!
This is what a western scientist said recently about Astrology: Your basic newspaper astrology is utter, made-up tripe.
The more sophisticated forms, such as the personal horoscopes made in China or India, require a degree of knowledge of astronomy and of the ancient traditions associated with the planets, and it's actual work to integrate the various data and ideas into a prediction based on someone's exact time and location of birth.
However, those traditions are also utter, made-up tripe. The planet Venus is not a love goddess. It is a blasted hellhole of sulfuric acid clouds with a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead. The planet Mars is not a god of war, but a frozen desert. The constellations mean nothing, and have entirely different connotations in different cultures.
Garbage in, garbage out. No matter how much work you put into reshuffling nonsense, it remains nonsense. It will never reveal useful information, because it's based on a foundation of pure fantasy.
Who says it's accurate? Astrology is one of the best examples available of a phenomenon known to science as "confirmation bias". When we are intellectually and / or emotionally invested in believing something, we tend to ignore evidence that argues against it, and grasp at any small fact that seems to confirm it. People will go to an astrological reading and receive, say, eight predictions. Of those, three will seem to come true in some form. These will be seized on as proof that astrology has predictive value, while the more numerous false predictions will be completely forgotten. Astrology only seems accurate because people want it to be accurate.
See also: Forer effect
Confirmation bias is a form of cognitive bias.
From the literature, astrology believers often tend to selectively remember those predictions that turned out to be true and do not remember those that turned out false. Another, separate, form of confirmation bias also plays a role, where believers often fail to distinguish between messages that demonstrate special ability and those that do not.
Thus there are two distinct forms of confirmation bias that are under study with respect to astrological belief.
The Barnum effect is the tendency for an individual to give a high accuracy rating to a description of their personality that supposedly tailored specifically for them, but is, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. If more information is requested for a prediction, the more accepting people are of the results.
In 1949 Bertram Forer conducted a personality test on students in his classroom.
Each student was given a supposedly individual assessment but actually all students received the same assessment. The personality descriptions were taken from a book on astrology. When the students were asked to comment on the accuracy of the test, more than 40% gave it the top mark of 5 out of 5, and the average rating was 4.2.
The results of this study have been replicated in numerous other studies.
The study of the Barnum/Forer effect has been focused mostly on the level of acceptance of fake horoscopes and fake astrological personality profiles.
Recipients of these personality assessments consistently fail to distinguish between common and uncommon personality descriptors.
In a study by Paul Rogers and Janice Soule (2009), which was consistent with previous research on the issue, it was found that those who believed in astrology are generally more susceptible to giving more credence to the Barnum profile than sceptics.
By a process known as self-attribution, it has been shown in numerous studies that individuals with knowledge of astrology tend to describe their personalities in terms of traits compatible with their astrological signs. The effect is heightened when the individuals were aware that the personality description was being used to discuss astrology. Individuals who were not familiar with astrology had no such tendency.