Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs in which knowledge of the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer, or, less often, an astrologist.
- Such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happen much oftener, neglect and pass them by.
- Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, § 46
- Scientists refuse to study astrology, not because of prejudice or because there is a conspiracy afoot, but simply because there is not a shred of evidence that would justify the expenditure of valuable time from a career.
- Amusingly, it falls foul of our modern taboo against lazy stereotyping. How would we react if a newspaper published a daily columm that read something like this: "Germans: It is in your nature to be hard-working and methodical, which should serve you well at work today. In your personal relationships, especially this evening, you will need to curb your natural tendency to obey orders. Chinese: Inscrutability has many advantages, but it may be your undoing today. British: Your stiff upper lip may serve you well in business dealings, but try to relax and let yourself go in your social life."
- And most people say of astrology, "Oh, it's harmless fun, isn't it?" And I should say probably for about 80% of the cases it probably is harmless fun, but there's a strong way in which it isn't harmless: one, because it's so anti-science; you know, you'll hear things like "Science doesn't know everything." Well, of course science doesn't know everything, but because science doesn't know everything that doesn't mean science knows nothing. Science knows enough for us to be watched by a few million people now on television, for these lights to be working, for quite extraordinary miracles to have taken place in terms of the harnessing of the physical world and our dim approaches towards understanding it.
- Stephen Fry, Room 101, Season 6 Episode 10.
- He considered horoscopes as silly as spectacles on a cow.
- Robert A. Heinlein, Between Planets (1951), Chapter 4
- The medieval addiction to astrology is not merely a sign of "failure of nerve". According to Aristotle, everything that happens in the sub-lunary world is caused and governed by the motions of the heavenly spheres. This tenet served as a rationale for the defenders of astrology, both in antiquity and the Middle Ages. ...In the absence of quantitative laws and causal relations, the Aristotelian... proceeded by deduction from analogies, which were often metaphorical, or allegorical, or purely verbal.
- Their [the stars] influence on our fate is considerably less than the influence of a banana peel, on which you can slip and break your leg. But there is no interest in banana peels, whereas serious periodicals include horoscopes ... It lifts his spirits. The whole universe revolves around him, and even if things aren't going well, even if the stars are lined up in such a way that the suspenders manufacturer loses his shirt and the individual consequently loses his job, it's still more comforting than to know that the stars don't really give a damn. Knock astrology out of his head, and the belief too that the cactus on his windowsill cares about him, and what is left? Barefoot, naked despair.
- Stanislaw Lem, Peace on Earth (1987), tr. Elinor Ford (1994) from Pojój na Zemi, Ch. 5.
- Astrology is a disease, not a science.
- Moses ben Maimon, 1135 to 1204, Jewish philosopher.
- The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance or breathèd spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.
- John Milton Hymn, stanza 19, line 173.
- This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are
sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make
guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if
we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion;
knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance;
drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc’d obedience of
planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine
thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay
his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!
- “Excuse me,” she said hesitantly, “but what effect do these minor planets have on our behavior and fortunes? I mean, you know, astrological influence?”
He looked at her. “None.”
“None at all.”
“But if the planets affect our fortunes—” She stumbled to a stop at the dispassionately scornful look on the pale man’s face, the slow way he shook his head. “Surely you’ll agree that the planets order and control our destinies?”
“They do not.”
“Not at all?”
“Then what does? Control our destinies, I mean.”
“The only external forces that have any influence on us are those we can see every day: the smile, the frown, the fist, the brick wall. What you call ‘destiny’ is merely a semantic fallacy, the attribution of purpose to blind causality. Insofar as any of us are compelled to resist the flow of random events, we are driven solely by internal drives and forces.”