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The Stars Made Me Do It

There's a lot of stuff in the world that we humans don't understand. Our species has learned a whole lot about how the planet works, about the solar system, our galaxy and the universe. But we don't even begin to know everything!

Our ancestors looked at the stars and could not have known what they were or how astoundingly far away they really are. The distances used in measuring the galaxy are boggling. A light-year is how far light travels in a year. at 186,000 miles per second that's pretty far. If I crunched the numbers correctly it is about 5,865,696,000,000 miles.

So back then the people who looked up and wondered made up explanations that made sense to them. We have evidence of their observations in ancient witings. The ancient astronomers could predict eclipses and movements of the planets but there were other things that caught them by surprise.

I can understand how the constellations came to represent powerful beings, the stars move through the skies no matter what we do. But what effect can those far away starts actually have on us? Astrologers would want us to believe that the patterns of the stars deterine a whole lot about us: what we like and dislike, what our temperament is like, what we like to do.

How could this be? Well, it probably couldn't. The constellations look the way they do here on our Earth. The stars that we call Scorpio, that somewhat resemble the outline of a scorpion, probably look very different viewed from a different place in the galaxy. Would those stars have a different influence if they made a different pattern?

Yet people believe that the position of ths sun near an outline formed by distant stars will determine their fate. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has put together some activities that, while they are designed for kids, can enlighten anyone about the hokum. They have also collected a nice bibliography.

I've asked what the mechanism of astrology is and no one has been able to give me an explanation that makes any sense. The gravitational effect of the stars is way too small. A large truck parked in the hospital parking lot would have more gravitational effect on a child being born in that hospital than a distant star or planet. So if astrology is so powerful what makes it work? Or does it even work? If astrology is correct what makes it work?

Could a good astrologer interview someone and "reverse engineer" to find out the person's birthdate? I've never heard of that being done. Whenever I have asked about why two people who share a birthday are different I've been inundated with nonsense.

If the stars can take the blame for my failings then they'd have to get credit for my successes. No thanks, I prefer to take the credit and if there's blame to be had also, well, I'll take that too.

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