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Abstract -- Astrology ranges from the trivial to the profound. Today, for the first time in twenty centuries, we can answer most questions about astrology. Few people are aware of this revolution in our understanding, hence this website. The answers are often bad news for astrology. But there is more to astrology than being true or false.

Profound vs trivial astrology
Astrology, from the Greek astron, star, and logos, discourse, is the study (generally nonscientific) of supposed relationships between the heavens and human affairs. It has nothing to do with astronomy, the scientific study of celestial objects. Astrology takes two forms. One is the serious and profound astrology of journals and consulting rooms. The other is the popular but trivial entertainment of sun sign astrology columns and phone lines. They are not the same. Both forms are addressed on this website.

The research revolution
Astrologers say the heavens reflect our destiny from the cradle to the grave. Could this be true? The question has been furiously debated for more than twenty centuries, but an answer has been possible only since the 1970s, when advances in relevant areas (astronomy, psychology, statistics, research design) and a decisive technology (home computers) led to a revolution in scientific research into astrology. Not to be confused with what astrologers traditionally call "research", the uncritical examination of birth charts.

Hundreds of empirical studies
Before 1950 almost no empirical studies of astrology existed. But by 2000 over one hundred had appeared in psychology journals and four hundred in astrology journals, equivalent to about 200 man-years of scientific research. For 91 typical studies see Research results and for overviews see Meta-analyses, both under Doing Scientific Research. The findings have been clear and consistent whether obtained by astrologers or by scientists -- astrology has not contributed to human knowledge, it has failed hundreds of tests, it has no acceptable mechanism other than hidden persuaders (see below), and users do not usefully agree on basics such as which zodiac to use or even on what a given birth chart indicates. Today, for the first time in twenty centuries, we can say with some certainty that no, the heavens do not reflect our destiny.

Hidden persuaders
And astrology is easy to explain. Users do not guard against hidden persuaders (reasoning errors and statistical artifacts, see Hidden persuaders under Problem Areas, which is why an actually invalid astrology seems to work, why users can accept erroneous conclusions as true, and why scientists tend to see astrologers as hopelessly uninformed. That astrologers are in fact mostly nice people who genuinely wish to help others does not excuse their being uninformed. Nevertheless there is more to astrology than being true or false, see Case for and against astrology under Overviews & Sources. Astrology should be neither lightly embraced nor lightly dismissed.

Keeping up to date
Few people are aware of the above revolution in our understanding of astrology. It is almost never mentioned in astrology books or on astrology websites. So the present archive was started in July 2000 by former astrologer Rudolf H Smit from Zwolle in the Netherlands. The aim is to provide readable articles on scientific research into astrology that are also sensitive to astrology's merits. All articles have abstracts to save your time, and all articles are in plain English.

Astrology under Scrutiny Latest updates
In July 2013 the best of this archive was
updated, expanded, and put into book form.
Click here for details.

Please email us
We invite your comments, especially suggestions for improving this website. Send your emails to rudolf DOT h DOT smit AT hccnet.nl. Your emails will be acknowledged. Many thanks!

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