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Should Scientists Date People Who Believe Astrology? 1181

YourAstrologer writes "Wired Science asks: Should scientists date people who believe in astrology? Apparently, the argument is quite complex. Astrology is sort of a flawed mental shortcut for understanding the world, but so is disregarding someone because of their spiritual beliefs. Women are inundated with astrological nonsense from fashion magazines, so it is normative for them to believe it even if they are otherwise highly logical. Smart people can convince themselves of silly things."
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Should Scientists Date People Who Believe Astrology?

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  • by Bloke down the pub ( 861787 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:39AM (#22699900)
    Which method - radiocarbon or by slicing thenm and counting the rings?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You don't need to slice them to count the rings - just look at any hippy chick's fingers and you'll see plenty ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ld a,b ( 1207022 )
      Yeah, I thought the same. I suppose this is why it made it to the front page.
      On topic, given that many MALE scientists believe in imaginary superbeings that were made up by some random illiterate guy some thousands of years ago, I don't think they are in any position to judge their girlfriends for basing their behaviour on what they read in magazines. God, free(as in freedom), Astrology, it's all the same. We are humans. Flawed machines.
      Human females deserve you treat them as equals. Maybe then you'll get a
      • Re:Which method? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:35AM (#22700908) Journal
        We are humans. Flawed machines. Human females deserve you treat them as equals. Maybe then you'll get a date.

        The preceding was the only part of the parent post that shows any resemblance of intelligent thought. There is a big difference between a non falsifiable belief system, and one that does claim to make very specific predictions. I have no problem with a belief system that can not be proven or disproven and causes people to lead better lives. I do have a problem with people that believe that human behavior is influenced or predetermined by objects, but reject any knowledge about these same objects that was scientificly determined.

        And yes, I did break up with a girlfriend because of this.
      • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:44AM (#22701058)
        treat them as equals? walk into work, pound them on the back and yell, "hows it hangin', asshole? feel good?, well ya look like shit" Nah, maybe should treat them better than an equal would be treated.
      • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:19AM (#22701646) Homepage Journal

        given that many MALE scientists believe in imaginary superbeings that were made up by some random illiterate guy some thousands of years ago
        George Lucas isn't that old.
  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:40AM (#22699910)
    But rememeber, you can fix a lot of things but you cant fix stupid
  • Yes. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sir.Cracked ( 140212 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:41AM (#22699924) Homepage
    Beggars can't be choosers....
  • by Internet Ronin ( 919897 ) <[internet.ronin] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:41AM (#22699930)
    Seeing as this is Slashdot, lemme just say, you should probably take what you can get. Astrology, piercings, fetishes, just be glad a girl's talking to you and not asking you to do her math homework. Seriously though, sometimes breasts are big enough to make other things not important.
  • Sediment cores (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:42AM (#22699938) Journal
    Why not? If you're only going to date people who agree with you on everything then you're likely to die alone.

    That said, if there was anythig to astrology I'd have gotten laid Friday night. I look at horoscopes for the humor value, and one Friday said "a home cooked meal will provoke a romp in the sack". Too damned bad astrology is bullshit!

    You might as well ask if a Catholic should date a Muslim.
    • by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:59AM (#22700234) Journal
      While I can agree that you shouldn't look for someone who is identical to you their beliefs, there is a lot to be said for having some common ground at least on some of the deeper/bigger belief systems.

      Do you want a wife who is going to do something downright stupid because her horoscope/astrologer/tarot card/tea leaf reader told her she should do it? Do you want to have to try to convince her why it's a bad idea, even though it should be obvious to anyone with some common sense why it's a bad idea? Do you want her raising your kids to believe that stuff?

      Seriously, if you're just trying to get laid, then I guess it doesn't matter what the person you are dating believes (as long as they believe one-night stands or short-term relationships are ok), but if you are looking for a longer-term relationship, these things really matter.

      It can be the difference between every big decision (should we buy a house now? Should I take this new job offer? Should we get a new car? Have a kid? 2 kids, 3 kids. . ?) being an ideological fight, or a simple matter of discussion based on a common set of shared 'foundational' beliefs.

      Is a difference in belief also going to be a constant source of friction with relatives? I know in the US the popular belief is fall in love with the person, worry about the relatives later. That can work sometimes. It can't work if the relatives believe some radical ideology that justifies them kidnapping your children in order to 'raise them right' instead of letting you raise them (that's an extreme example, and I don't think applies to astrology, but I'm just throwing that out as an example of the general concept).

      Ultimately, whether a person who's fundamental world-view is based on science should date someone who's worldview is based on astrology comes down to those individuals, and how they can work it out (I suppose there could reasonably be a person who's scientific, but also can believe that there might be something to astrology, and can harmonize the two).

      Still, having some beliefs in common can be a very good thing for the relationship.
  • It depends (Score:4, Funny)

    by insertwackynamehere ( 891357 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:42AM (#22699950) Journal
    What's they're sign? If you two are incompatible according to the stars then you can forget about being compatible on Earth.
  • Oh really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperDuck ( 16035 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:43AM (#22699954)

    Women are inundated with astrological nonsense from fashion magazines, so it is normative for them to believe it even if they are otherwise highly logical.
    By your line of reasoning (if I can call it that), women are easily swayed by what they read in fashion magazines.

    If this submission was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it's trying a bit too hard.

    A woman needs horoscopes like a fish needs a bicycle. ;-)
  • by Malevolent Tester ( 1201209 ) * on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:43AM (#22699960) Journal
    As a Marxist, I have no time for pseudoscientific concepts that claim to explain the workings of human nature in their entirety while offering no evidence or falsifiability.
  • Offense (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stormcrow309 ( 590240 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:44AM (#22699990) Journal

    I have to take offense to this. Couple of years ago, the local paper's astrological peice listed for my birthday, 'If today is your birthday, you gonna get lucky today.' Now, yes I was dating the lady who was incharge of editing that section at the time; but by God, it was correct.

  • by dougoxley ( 688508 ) * on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:47AM (#22700042) Homepage
    Think of the children... No, seriously, think of the children.
  • Ahh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nickos ( 91443 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:47AM (#22700054)

    so is disregarding someone because of their spiritual beliefs
    There's your problem - a growing number of people are realising it's fine to disregard someone if they believe in supernatural nonsense. Especially if they're beliefs include doing nasty things to women, homosexuals and non-believers.
  • by glpierce ( 731733 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:48AM (#22700056)
    Astrology differs from most religion and "spirituality" in one very important way (especially to scientists): It is testable. While there is no way to prove or disprove most spiritual things (including the existence of any god or the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God), we know that astrology is 100% wrong. It has been studied scientifically (because it makes testable predictions and claims), and the results always come back the same.

    Try this page for a start:
    http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/astrology.html [badastronomy.com]
  • by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:48AM (#22700062) Homepage
    I'm not a scientist, but I won't date women who buy astrology. I deal with enough ignorance at work, thank you. I won't date devoutly religious women, either.
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:48AM (#22700064)
    As a scientist I am likely to disregard most attempts at serious conversation on the subject of astrology.

    That said, I would not, and I believe, nor would any other normal scientific single chap, turn away a hot chick just because she was pondering my star sign or wanting to read my palm. In most cases It's just another vector into a conversation anyway.
  • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:49AM (#22700086)
  • Oh man... (Score:5, Funny)

    by o'reor ( 581921 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:49AM (#22700100) Journal

    From the comments on TFA:

    check this 68k mac software does statistics on astrology.

    http://dragonflypower.com/HSReadme.htm [dragonflypower.com]

    (note, this is not even on /. !)

    Which begs the question: Should anybody date someone who recommends taking a look at a 68k Mac software in 2008 ?

  • by xs650 ( 741277 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:50AM (#22700114)
    I'm a Scorpio, Scorpios don't believe in astrology.
  • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:51AM (#22700128)
    About people using 'normative' when 'normal' would do perfectly well. That for me would set off more alarm bells in the dating department.
  • Excuse me? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PriceIke ( 751512 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:52AM (#22700132)
    Judging someone to be undateable because of her spiritual beliefs is somehow wrong? Why, because it would hurt her feelings? I'd say a woman's spiritual beliefs, especially if they are wholly incompatible with common sense (as so many of them are), are reason enough to not want to waste time trying to develop a close relasionship with.
  • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:53AM (#22700140) Homepage
    Most western societies include a schooling system that splits children up into 'years', dividing the years by birthday being before or after September. (Using the UK as an example, as that's what I know) Children start school the September after they're 5 years old. So someone born in September will be nearly 6 when they start school, while someone born in August will be just 5 when they start school. So at that early age, the September child is 20% older than the August child when they start. That makes a difference, in confidence, learning and social skills, physical strength, all sorts. While the proportional age differences diminish over time, the headstart is always there. The social structure of the school career gets fixed at a very early stage.

    Does your birthdate have a big determination on who you are? I think it does, it just doesn't have anything to do with the sun or the moon...
  • Multiple Choice (Score:5, Informative)

    by rueger ( 210566 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:53AM (#22700156) Homepage
    Women are inundated with astrological nonsense from fashion magazines, so it is normative for them to believe it even if they are otherwise highly logical.

    a) Stupid
    b) sexist
    c) offensive
    d) all of the above
  • Astrology Chick (Score:3, Interesting)

    by leroybrown ( 136516 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:54AM (#22700168) Homepage
    I once went out on a date with a girl who was in an English PhD program at Lehigh University so she was no dummy, but she believed in astrology. I didn't realize she was serious at first so I started picking on her about it. She got really offended and tried to rationalize it by explaining that when you're born the stars in the babies star sign have a gravitational effect on its' brain. I tried to explain to her that the TV in the delivery room would have more of an effect. Her eyes glazed over at the term "Gravitational Constant" so I figured it was a lost cause and just gave up.

  • Mental shortcut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:55AM (#22700178) Homepage Journal
    Only if you define a shortcut as a much shorter route that gets you to the wrong destination.

    As an often-scientific athiest, I'm prepared to date people from any different religions, as long as we're both content to let one anothers belief systems not interfere with our love life. But I have difficulty talking to anyone who believes a few miniscule globules of rock millions of miles away can effect something as complex as our personalities and day-to-day activities. Same for alot of /.'ers I imagine - you can appreciate someone who's put a lot of thought into their belief system and come to their own conclusion and is happy with it and the way it helps them live their life - systems of belief are an entirely human construct and are thus irrational by default :) But people who have convinced themselves that astrology exists and then try to subvert physics with claptrap about subtle variations in gravitic attractions and how it aligns iron particles in your blood which short-circuit synapses into taking certain descisions? All without a shred of proof? All without a shred of evidence, even? You're a moron and I'm incapable of respecting your intellect.

    Yes, I realise it's not their whole personality (don't get me wrong, I've met hundreds of lovely people who happened to believe in something ridiculous), but to me it's just like talking to someone with LIAR tattoed across their forehead and taking everything they say at face value.

    http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/astrology.html [badastronomy.com] /asbestos long johns

    P.S. A prize of fifty points and a bowl of raspberry jelly to the first person who correctly guesses my relationship status :)
  • by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:55AM (#22700184) Journal

    I think some people are way too casual about having incompatible worldviews with a significant other, but then again, I'm a person with very firm Christian beliefs. Maybe if you are agnostic, for example, you can tolerate someone who believes something which, by your view, could potentially be correct.

    But if your mate believes something which you see as patently foolish - like the idea that everyone born between certain dates each year will have the same personality/fate, despite all evidence to the contrary, and despite a total lack of explanation as to how the position of stellar bodies relates to human events - I think this deep disagreement about how life works will lead to bitterness and problems. It's hard to conceal contempt.

    And yes, I'm braced for the blind atheistic mockery of Slashdot.

  • by romanm ( 178782 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:56AM (#22700194) Homepage
    There's an old Bosnian joke about how Mujo decided which girl he should marry. He discussed about it later with his friend Haso:
    H: I heard you got married. Congratulations! How did you decide?
    M: Well, this was not easy. I had three candidates and I conducted a test. I asked the first one:
          "What's 2+2?".
          She said "4".
          I though to myslelf, that's good, the woman is smart.
          The second one said: "Well, it depends. It can be 4, but sometimes it can also be 3 or 5."
          That's even better, the woman is cunning.
          I asked the third one the same question and she says "I don't care. Whatever my husband says it is".
          I thought to myself, this woman surely will respect her husband. This is good.
    H: So, which one did you take?
    M: Oh. The one with big tits, of course.

    I don't think that scientists are THAT different to other men.
  • by spottedkangaroo ( 451692 ) * on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:05AM (#22700336) Homepage
    Personally, I find the idea that Astrology has anything to do with anything (in the literal sense) to be completely ridiculous.

    It sure does seem to be accurate in some cases though. I enjoy it and I consume and process it even though I'm completely aware of how ludicrous it really is. Any system that's sufficiently complex will seem to have meaning. It's the human condition.

    Should you date someone that "believes" in it? It's no more silly than believing a Prophet died for your sins 2000 years ago and is deeply concerned about your private sexual morality. I say, date the Astrologer. They're probably literate and that's pretty good.

  • by Ranger ( 1783 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:13AM (#22700446) Homepage
    he wants to lower his chances of getting laid.
  • Well.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rodney dill ( 631059 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:16AM (#22700514) Journal
    ...if they put out....(rimshot)

    Actually if mary matalin and james carville can get along any thing is possible.
  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:14AM (#22701550)
    I am an atheist, proud and true. I do not believe in *anything* that can't be proved. Unfortunately, I have to accept a lot of things as "probably true" barring evidence to the contrary. My wife is a catholic who reads the horoscope, go figure.

    It is a good marriage. Every now and then, however, when we talk about those who have passed away or deeper meanings of life or what have you, it forces a reconciliation between philosophies. Sometimes a fight, sometimes a a discussion, either way, it can work.

    So, should scientists date "believers of things?" Sure, but you have to be ready to "accept" the person "as-is." If you can't do that then it won't work.
  • Oh my. (Score:5, Funny)

    by TrebleJunkie ( 208060 ) <ezahurak@at l a n ticbb.net> on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:15AM (#22701580) Homepage Journal
    Guys, if any women are actually reading this, we are collectively sooooo not ever getting laid.
  • by 3-State Bit ( 225583 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:16AM (#22701592)
    Astrology for scientists.
    1. Sequence your DNA.
    2. Compress it and take the hex checksum. You can use any compression scheme and any checksum algo (but use a real one, don't just make one up ad hoc) to get the hex result, it doesn't really matter. However, you have to go with the first one you pick, you can't pick a different one just because you didn't like the results.
    3. Take the last hex digit of your checksum that isn't a C, D, E or F. (If your whole checksum consists of just these letters, add 1 to your compressed DNA and checksum again (repeating if necessary). Use the following guide to picking an astrological sign:
    4. Next, read the linked Wikipedia article (and any mainstream sources too if you want, for example in newspapers and magazines), and:
    5. Start acting in accordance with your selected personality. That's it!

    Now for some good news: by following the above steps, you will develop a mathematically sound personality that society actually needs, and, more to the point, every one of the linked personalities gets laid and so will you. Study your personality, make the set of behaviors etc. your own, and date only people who have an astrological sign that complements the one you've chosen using the above steps! When faced with a choice, read the astrology section of a trusted newspaper, and just do whatever is prescibed for your chosen personality. The only caveat (and really it is the only one) is not to mention your true birthday, only one that fits in with your chosen sign, if anyone asks. This is just to keep from having to explain the science behind your choice every time you mention it. If the relationship gets to be very serious, just invent a story about a botched birth certificate, for why your identification doesn't show your "true" birthday... As with nicknames, people will understand that you have a different "official" birthday.


    Why is this better than a traditional horoscope?
    The traditional way of determining astrological signs for selecting a personality is flawed because there is an unequal distribution of births by month. (It's not the only thing true about birth months, incidentally! Check out these studies linking lifespan and month of birth [google.com]!) Also, your physical birth month will be a function of, how can I put this delicately, your parents' mating habits, so it's less than scientific...

    But won't twins have the same checksum?
    Duh. It's an astrological sign. You know, normally based on birthdate...

    But won't people cheat and just keep picking different checksum schemes until they get the "

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Monday March 10, 2008 @12:49PM (#22703218) Homepage
    No, stay with me. I don't believe in hocus pocus.

    I once did a teaching course, as I was teaching basic IT skills in an evening class. One of my fellow students was teaching astrology (I was rather glad to hear that it wasn't subsidised in the same way as the IT classes were). So I got to learn a little bit about it.

    He was completely dismissive of magazine horoscopes, and said that a proper horoscope involved far more detailed plotting based on the exact date, and a dialogue between the astrologer and the client. It soon became apparent to me that the star stuff was pretty much just a starting off point for some self-examination, coached by the consultant. You can make the same argument for tarot -- the cards you get are arbitrary, and their meanings are deliberately ambiguous, meaning you can use them to kick off some rather productive brainstorming.

  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @02:15PM (#22704986) Homepage Journal

    It's easy to answer, once you phrase it like this: Should you continue to date someone you can't respect?

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes