25 thoughts on “Richard Saunders talks Astrology

  1. @kusali11
    This coming from someone who started their argument with “I don’t want to nit pick”.

  2. @jessiessica It’s unfortunate that you see it as “dancing around words and technicalities” rather then it’s true import.

  3. @kusali11
    So apparently I have so say in the course this debate takes?
    I guess you would indeed prefer to dance around words and technicalities rather than actually contribute in any interesting way.

  4. @jessiessica “… doesn’t render my whole argument flawed.” Sure it does, when you made the statement “astrological readings can easily be accounted for by a well-documented cognitive bias” you are speaking for astrology in general. If you rephrased the question and directed the “argument specifically at western astrology” then you are changing the debate.

  5. @kusali11
    And showing that one particular subset of astrology (“Vedic”) is not subject to my claims doesn’t render my whole argument flawed.
    Thus rendering your own argument pointless.
    Western astrology is no small subset. It makes a lucrative living off the pockets of the gullible. If I were to rephrase and say that I am directing my arguments specifically at Western astrology, would that satisfy you? Or would you prefer to continue fixatively dancing around words?

  6. @jessiessica “… it’s a question that needs to be begged and repeatedly fails to be delivered by the astrology industry” again is NOT our debate. Second by saying “astrology” as opposed to western astrology you have included all practices of astrology including “Vedic”. Next, by showing a particular flaw in one subset of astrology (i.e. Western Astrology) doesn’t render all subsets flawed. Thus making your argument pointless.

  7. @kusali11
    I’m not necessarily demanding the question of you, but it’s a question that needs to be begged and repeatedly fails to be delivered by the astrology industry.
    And it certainly doesn’t render my argument pointless. Do you see me specifically adressing the vedic system? Despite the large predictive role of astrology, the ability to accurately profile personalities remains one of the principle claims of many astrologers and cannot simply be ignored.

  8. @jessiessica First the practice of identifying personality traits in astrology is ancillary to predictions in fact the Vedic system which is mainly predictive hardly does it at all – consequently rendering your argument pointless. Second I don’t know why you are asking me “Now what basis is there that astrologers are delivering what they claim to be” when I’ve never taken up such a position.

  9. @kusali11
    …when in fact they are so general that they could apply to anyone.
    So I’d say there’s slightly more than “no basis” for my statement”. Now what basis is there that astrologers are delivering what they claim to be? Does the burden of proof not lie with them? After all, do extraordinary claims not require extraordinary evidence?

  10. @kusali11
    …It turns out the “personality test results” were in fact randomly selected clippings taken from a newspaper astrology column. And this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of studies in peer-reviewed psychological journals have established that this cognitive bias: that we tend to think that general statements such as those perpetrated by astrologers that are supposedly tailored specifically for us indeed apply uniquely to us…

  11. @kusali11
    I should have elaborated and said that the high accuracy ratings given for astrological readings can easily be accounted for by a well documented bias.
    There is plenty of basis for this. Try the classic experiment by Bertram Forer in 1948 where his subjects were told they were to be given a personality test. When given their results, they were asked to rate how accurate the statements are, they all rated very highly indeed (average 4.26 out of 5)…

  12. @jessiessica So are you saying all “astrological readings can easily be accounted for by a well-documented cognitive bias”, If you say this then I can’t accept it because there is no basis for this, unless you can prove it to me. But for you to say I’m not “acknowledging” the Barnum effect shows you haven’t understood my writing.

    One should always seek evidence and I never implied otherwise.

  13. @kusali11
    …So you’re saying I can’t ask for evidence of something just because I don’t believe in it? My belief is neither here nor there. If it’s testable, then I say test it. If the test doesn’t show any evidence that they are delivering what they claim, then I think it’s quite reasonable to say why not?

  14. @kusali11
    It’s dismissal because you are not acknowledging that astrological readings can easily be accounted for by a well-documented cognitive bias.

    No I don’t think that astrologers’ analyses are fictitious either. I just know that they haven’t provided any empirical evidence for their claims, despite their hypotheses being easily testable…

  15. @jessiessica How is that a dismissal of the Barnum effect?

    Of course “Astrologers do exist”. To you their analysis is a fiction not they themselves. Then you ask me to compare what you believe to be a fiction to what you believe to be non-fiction, don’t you think that is utterly silly?

  16. @kusali11
    You dismissed the Barnum effect with:
    “The Barnum effect accounts for cold reading, but the question is do all astrologers make cold readings? ”

    It’s not fictitious. Astrologers do exist, I just don’t see any evidence that they can deliver what they claim.

    If anyone can provide me with evidence that astrology is better at determining personality than modern psychology, or at least better than chance, then I would gladly listen.

  17. @jessiessica I don’t know what you’re reading, there is no implication by me “that Barnum statements are merely a part of cold reading”. Next, You asked “how is astrology superior to modern psychology”. To you astrology is fictitious like Aqua-man. To ask me who can swim faster Aqua-man or Michael Phelps is a bit silly don’t you think?

  18. @kusali11
    No they aren’t the same, but you implied that Barnum statements are merely a part of cold reading, which they aren’t, as they can be made in the absence of cold reading.
    And yes, psychology it is very relevant, as modern psychology reflects our best understanding of our abilities to profile personality and predict behaviours, while astrology cannot be shown to reliably achieve either of these things despite it claims.
    It’s as though you aren’t even reading my replies.

  19. @jessiessica I never said the “Barnum effect” and “cold reading” are the same thing. Second I didn’t address “the benefits of astrology over modern psychology” because it has nothing to do with the debate I was having.

  20. @kusali11
    P.S. You never answered my question about the benefits of astrology over modern psychology.

  21. @kusali11
    …for example, I could say “you are somewhat introverted, but at times you can be extroverted”. That is a Barnum statement in that it is extremely general (most people lie between introversion and extroversion rather than on the extremes), and yet people have a well-documented cognitive bias that they tend to believe that that statements such as this apply uniquely to them.

  22. @kusali11
    The Barnum effect and cold reading are not the same thing. In order to cold read, one must be in direct contact with the person they are reading so that they can gradually obtain more and more information, allowing them to make more specific statements. Sure they might start with Barnum statements, but that does not mean that the Barnum effect cannot be used in the absence of cold reading, and it frequently is by Astrologers.

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