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Why People Believe in Astrology and the Stars

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 16, 2009

Guest post by Adrienne Carlson

The title of this post is actually misleading in that it makes people believe that I am a believer in the power of astrology, which I certainly am not. The reverse is also not true – I am not a skeptic and I do respect people who follow this pseudoscience sincerely and faithfully. The point I am trying to make here is that while astrology does not have any firm scientific base to adhere to and grow on, it does have more than its fair share of followers. And the reason for its popularity and people believing that it is written in the stars is because:

  • They are at peace: When people hear things that they want to hear, they feel good about their lives. This positive thinking helps them actually move forward and achieve success. They are at peace with themselves because of what they think the stars have foretold. If you’re going to argue that hearing negative stuff could have the opposite effect, I would say that astrology offers some form of penance in order to get rid of your bad karma and get you back on track. People are often happy enough to complete this penance and be at peace with themselves and their lives.
  • They need something to hold on to: Astrology is a belief that people hold on to like drowning victims cling to a lifesaver. They think that it will save them from the troubles and tribulations that life throws at them. This allows them to drift along until they find a tide that’s favorable.
  • Some things in life have no rational explanation: This is probably the easiest way to explain pseudoscience and why people believe in it – that some things in life just do not have any rational explanation. They exist because people want them to exist; they thrive because people continue to believe in them; and they will continue to be around because they have already made an effect in people’s lives.

While the belief in astrology is not something to be ashamed of, it is not wise to let it rule your entire life. There are people who trust their astrologer even more than their doctor, an act that can be characterized as stupid at best and dangerous at worst. When we use this pseudoscience with a mixture of common sense, that’s when astrology works at its best.


This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of nurse practitioner schools . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

11 Responses

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  1. redrabbitslife said, on August 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    Hi Adrienne: I think lots of skeptics probably know WHY people believe this stuff. Many of us came from religious backgrounds and we do live in this world with these people.

    It feels great to think you can just take a ‘detox’ and get rid of excess weight, headaches, period pains, and all those terrible toxins. Way easier than you know, diet and exercise, and living in the real world.

    It’s really comforting to open the newspaper and have a message saying “Everything you do will work toward that big project today… you ROCK!” Never mind that a. it’s all made up, and b. even if it wasn’t, it is based on an outdated version of sky charts.

    Magical thinking feels wonderful. That’s why kids do it. It’s not productive. That’s why adults ought to grow out of it.

  2. redrabbitslife said, on August 17, 2009 at 12:20 PM

    PS: WordPress needs slapping: Automatically generated possibly related posts: Are you an adult Indigo? OMFG.

  3. […] in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 18, 2009 I recently published a guest entry titled “Why People Believe in Astrology and the Stars” by Adrienne Carlson. I feel the subject needs to be broadened and elaborated on a bit […]

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