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Good articleAstrology has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
July 11, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
December 13, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
January 2, 2014Good article nomineeListed
Current status: Good article

Structure of article[edit]

There's been a lot of discussion about the lead paragraph, but generally the article could be better, and I would be interested to read opinions about the structure. For me, the main interest is as part of the history of thought, and in fact that does take up a lot of the article. However, it dips in and out from one tradition to another, and spends a lot more time on "western" astrology than on Chinese, Indian or other traditions. Coming closer to the present day, it does not clearly lay out the difference between full horoscopes that take account of the hour and date of birth, as opposed to the "your stars" sections in magazines. I was wondering whether there should be main sections on Babylonian, Hellenistic/Roman/Islamic world, Indian, Chinese/Vietnamese/Japanese, and Modern Western, each structured chronologically, and that the material on "Principles and practice", and "Cultural impact" be brought into them. Itsmejudith (talk) 16:08, 8 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed, the page needs a substantial rewrite. Strange how it is WP:GA, to be quite honest. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 07:51, 9 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Does anyone else have any ideas or suggestions? Itsmejudith (talk) 17:26, 12 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have been looking for sources on how to handle this sort of thing and am a little confused. The use of the word "astrology" seems to be ambiguous at best. The extent to which "astrology" is applied to other cultural beliefs seems to be to the extent that predictable and repeated observations of the night sky was used in divination (so, for example, portents of comets and supernovae are often not included in the accounts of what constitutes different cultural "astrologies"). Most problematically, I cannot find very good sources that look at "astrology" as a singular subject and treat the cross-cultural comparisons in a consistent manner. This academic book (though I should have added a WP:REDFLAG as Nicholas Campion isn't exactly an independent source we would want to rely on), for example, seems to treat basically any mention of the sky in any religion as "astrology" which doesn't quite conform to the best and most rigorous definitions I've seen. jps (talk) 12:10, 13 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems to me that there is a split between the stars as the year's calendar and the stars for divination in the European Middle Ages. The church has no problem with the former and strongly disapproves of the latter. Chaucer translated and edited a Treatise on the Astrolabe, a scientific instrument, and also has a character who comically gets into trouble after being obsessed with his astrolabe. Chaucer is teasing his readers with the emerging science/superstition divide, in my reading, but entirely my own reading. There's an academic literature on Chaucer's astrological references, but it may not be the best place to start with finding good sources on medieval belief. I can see why Campion would deal with all mentions of the sky together, because it isn't always easy to see when a historical text is "just" referring to a period in time and when there are further implications and predictions. I found this [1] website, which is introductory but has links to articles, some of which may be citeable. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:50, 16 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The history sections currently read more like a collection of trivia than good, organized summaries. I imagine that bits and pieces were added to them because this article is more visible than the offshoots like Babylonian astrology where details would more properly belong. The opening paragraphs of "History" try to be a summary but then weave into the details; the chronology wobbles back and forth. "Ancient objections" is choppy and in an odd place (while sadly getting no representation in the lede). XOR'easter (talk) 15:42, 17 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that's spot-on and I will try to re-order a bit, boldly, just to see how it goes. I posted on the talk page of Wikiproject Catholicism in case we can find an Aquinas person to help. There are lots of other relevant Wikiprojects. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:08, 17 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We'd probably benefit from a systematic re-evaluation and reorganization that properly sorts out what should go in Astrology, what should go in Astrology and science, whether we need an Astrology and astronomy in addition to Astrology and science, etc. Since we as a community can't agree on three sentences, though, I doubt that will ever work. XOR'easter (talk) 00:41, 18 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Astrology and astronomy leaps all over the place in time and space, so fails to explain anything at all about what I might dare to call the "disciplinogenesis" of scientific astronomy. "All change at the Enlightenment! Ah yes, but there were sceptics from the beginning." It may have some usable sources. Itsmejudith (talk) 10:53, 18 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe it should be smerged into Astrology and science? XOR'easter (talk) 17:02, 18 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There also seems to be overlap between Astrology and science and History of astrology, when the latter gets around to "Medieval and Renaissance Europe". XOR'easter (talk) 22:21, 25 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 1985 study (published in Nature) used in this article was mischaracterized and fails to note the paper’s conclusion along with the limitations of the study. cloudpictures (talk) 05:39, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC about short description[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the short description include the word "pseudoscience"? Yes or No? DolyaIskrina (talk) 22:29, 31 August 2022 (UTC)DolyaIskrina (talk) 19:24, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest you do a bit of WP:RFCBEFORE and if you still want an RFC make it a bit more specific. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 19:25, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, policies and guidelines? Odd choice. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 19:26, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Many pixels have been spilled on this already. You closed the previous RfC so you know. Yes, this is a matter of policy, specifically WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE and WP:SHORDESC (though the second isn't technically policy). "include the word pseudoscience" is pretty specific. Once the RFC is decided we can hash out the specific text. The short description prior to Apaugasma's change enjoyed an enduring consensus. There is clearly a mood afoot that your closing of the previous RFC has changed that consensus. As for me, I'd be fine with any mention of the word at all. DolyaIskrina (talk) 20:00, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Has the word 'pseudoscience' been demonstrated (or divined?) to have some sort of magical property that absolutely requires its inclusion in any context that might just possibly seem vaguely applicable? Because otherwise, I can't think of any particular reason to have a context-free discussion about a single word. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:58, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So should I put you down as a no? And your reason for that judging from you comment when you reverted me would be... the absence of the word does not imply that it doesn't apply? DolyaIskrina (talk) 20:06, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Put me down as 'invalid RfC'. I reverted you because (a) the justification for your edit made no sense, and (b) the description as it stood seemed perfectly adequate. I think it's reasonably safe to assume that readers know what the word 'divination' means, and insulting readers intelligence isn't a requirement of Wikipedia policy. Or do you actually think that the word 'pseudoscience' has some magical power, making its presence obligatory? AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:42, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was putting back the short description that had been there for some time. So you prefer the new short description over the old short description because you think the word "divine" implies "pseudoscience"? DolyaIskrina (talk) 21:12, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was aware what you were doing. I prefer the 'divination' description because it tells readers what the article is about, without hitting them over the head with a metaphorical shovel in order to beat sense into any of them that might possibly not conform to WikiThink. Which is what inserting the word 'pseudoscience' into every possible context amounts to. Education by incantation isn't generally very effective. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:18, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
↑↑↑ This hits the nail upon the head. It's been the driving force of whole my effort here on this talk. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 21:33, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. To be clear about this, I have no objection to using the word 'pseudoscience', where appropriate. I've just reverted the removal of the word from the Numerology article because in my opinion, in spite of the obvious flaws in that article (which mirror to some extent those seen in this one) the article was better with it than without, given a simple binary choice between how it had been before and after the removal. We aren't however confined to binary choices, and should instead be asking ourselves what is the best way to educate and inform our readers - without the application of a shovel. If I had the inclination, and the access to the necessary sources, I'd maybe try to fix it, but having to fight off contributors who insist on the presence of magic words in articles provides little of an incentive to do so. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:34, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm with you on all points. It's only the 'shoveling' that I find objectionable and deeply unencylopedic. But somehow there's a deep mistrust on WP towards anyone who would as much as suggest that the use of the term pseudoscience may be inappropriate, no matter where it is used and no matter what the context. My sig probably also doesn't help. What I can tell you though is that I'm sick and tired of the aspersions. For Pete's sake, I'm an effing skeptic and atheist. Okay, on the internet I could just as well be a dog, but look at my contribs then. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 01:41, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bad RfC. It's an obvious rehash of the RfC that was closed yesterday, which was all about how much context should be provided when introducing astrology as pseudoscience. Yes, consensus has long been 'no context needed/desired', but consensus has now changed, towards either 'with historical context' ('was it always pseudoscience?' 'when did it become pseudoscience?'), or as a second option, 'with definitional context' (first 'what is astrology', then 'what is it that renders it pseudoscience?'). It should be obvious how that new consensus applies to the short description, which per WP:SD40 provides absolutely no place for context. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 21:33, 20 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was an iffy close of the RFC, and the conclusion you have drown from it that "consensus has now changed" is overplaying your hand. Shall I put you down as a "no"? AndyTheGrump has made their reasoning clear. They see the word "pseudoscience" as "Wikithink" that is "education by incantation" and an "application of a shovel". I disagree, but get Andy's reasoning. In your edit summary for changing the short description, you say that your new version of the short description is better because it is shorter. Now here in this RFC you make it clear that, in fact, you think the consensus on the word "pseudoscience" has changed. So it's not really about "shorter" it is about "pseudoscience". For a minute there, when I read your new version of the lead after ScottishFinnishRadish closed the previous RFC, I thought "meh, that seems fine," and then you went and changed the short description and confirmed for me that we are actual all now on a slippery slope that is ultimately an attack on WP:Pseudoscience. I can't tell if that's your intention, but that's the effect. The fact that you are advocating to change the language of WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE here also makes me suspect that you do indeed have a POINT. Either way, it's a simple question that needs clarification. Does the word "pseudoscience" belong in the short description? How we answer that question will determine whether or not we are soon talking about if pseudoscience belongs in the lead, or in the article at all. DolyaIskrina (talk) 00:23, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We don't base article content on precognitions of 'slippery slopes'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:37, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And further to that, I'd be grateful if you leave readers to see for themselves what I actually wrote, rather than misrepresenting it. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:21, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I take your point about characterizing your comments. I get how annoying that is. What did I misrepresent? DolyaIskrina (talk) 01:26, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My views on the appropriate use of the word 'pseudoscience'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:30, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What Andy said: we don't base article content on precognitions of 'slippery slopes'. A simple lack of AGF is not a good basis to start an RfC on. FWIW, I supported changing the SD along with the lead sentence in my very first contribution to this discussion back on 3 June, and again on on 5 June. They're clearly tied, which is why I also mentioned the RfC in my edsum. You would do better to believe me when I say that my gripe was with the uncontextualized 'shoveling' of the word pseudoscience, and that I have no intention at all to argue that it shouldn't be in the lead, let alone in the article. The new consensus established in the RfC is for using the word with context and nuance, not for not using it. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 01:41, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:pseudoscience has not been changed by any RFC. It states "The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such." @ScottishFinnishRadish: Crate and Barrel rules, "ya broke it, ya own it." Apaugasma thinks your close was

"...all about how much context should be provided when introducing astrology as pseudoscience. Yes, consensus has long been 'no context needed/desired', but consensus has now changed, towards either 'with historical context' ('was it always pseudoscience?' 'when did it become pseudoscience?'), or as a second option, 'with definitional context' (first 'what is astrology', then 'what is it that renders it pseudoscience?').

Is that what your close found? Do you now see why this current RFC is needed? And why it is necessary to make it very limited and precise? DolyaIskrina (talk) 03:02, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My close only pertained to the lead, but I don't think it's unfair to read into that discussion that other editors don't have a problem with using pseudoscience with nuance when the topic has existed long before the scientific method. Maybe some of this should have been discussed before you opened an RFC? ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 10:55, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Given that this supposed 'RfC' is clearly an improper attempt to relitigate the earlier RfC, I suggest it be closed. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:08, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • No AndyTheGrump's comments are insightful: there is no need to hit readers over the head with a shovel. I know that Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience#Generally considered pseudoscience says, "Theories which have a following, such as astrology, but which are generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community may properly contain that information and may be categorized as pseudoscience." In articles about religion, morality, political ideology, art, cooking and many other topics, we don't lecture readers about how they are not based on scientific principles. It's only when adherents claim that their theory is scientific that it merits the label of pseudoscience. For example, creation science advocates claim that they are rebutting scientific consensus when in fact they do not follow the scientific method. TFD (talk) 03:03, 22 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No, per the edifying comments above and also per WP:SHORTDESC, which notes that short descriptions should "use universally accepted facts that will not be subject to rapid change, avoiding anything that could be understood as controversial or judgemental." It is, I think, beyond reasonable dispute that astrology is sometimes pseudoscience, and also that it has not always been pseudoscience in all times and places; given those considerations, "pseudoscience" would be a poor use of the available character count. (No opinion as to the formal validity or invalidity of the RfC, but since it's still here, I guess I'll comment on it.) -- Visviva (talk) 19:07, 23 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    SHORTDESC is not policy. It is "norms, customs, technicalities, or practices" WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE is policy. DolyaIskrina (talk) 19:55, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, per the preponderance of evidence that it obviously is. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:26, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes as it is about as pure an example of it as you can get. Slatersteven (talk) 12:19, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I could again cite and quote all the sources (Barton 1994, Beck 2007, Hanegraaff 2012, Rochberg 2018, etc.) explicitly stating that reducing astrology to its modern status as pseudoscience is misleading and unhelpful for a proper understanding of it. I could again point out that all those editors speaking of 'preponderance of evidence' and it being a 'pure example' of pseudoscience never cite one source to back up their actual position, i.e., that astrology's status as pseudoscience is wholly unambiguous, and that it is the most important aspect about the topic that must be the very first thing we mention about it, without any context (no 'watering it down'!). I could again point out that these editors willfully ignore the many reliable sources provided that directly contradict their claim and treat the question with much more nuance (have any of these editors even read Thagard's widely cited –cf. Hanson 2021– paper "Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience"?). But I have done all of that in the previous RfC, which essentially dealt with the same question as this one, and whose result clearly indicates that the answer to the question posed here should be no. This is therefore a Bad RfC that is trying to relitigate an RfC that had been open for more than a month and that just closed, and it should be closed as soon as possible. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 13:45, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You are flogging a dead horse. - Roxy the English speaking dog 15:55, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Roxy, I want to clarify that I, not Apaugasma, opened this RFC. If I wanted to relitigate the previous RFC, as Apaugasma claims, I would indeed relitigate that. I think ScottishFinnishRadish was too quick with their close of it. There wasn't a consensus, just a slight majority for one of 3 options. But I don't actually mind the way the lead of the article reads right now. It has the word "divine" which I like. It has the word "pseudoscience' which is policy. Sure, the lead is skewed to the good ole days when science wasn't science and Astrology could be counted amongst those not-yet-science things. In other words, three hundred years ago. But, whatevs, it reads fine and clarifies the actual current status of Astrology. The problem is that Apaugasma, ScottishFinnishRadish and AndyTheGrump have made it clear that don't want the word "pseudoscience" in the shortdescription. THAT was not determined by the previous RFC at all. So here we are. DolyaIskrina (talk) 20:52, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't care about the word pseudoscience in the shortdesc. I can guarantee that I've dedicated no brain processing power to it. My issue is that you didn't discuss this beforehand, and it's quite likely a compromise could have been found. Also, if the consensus is to include pseudoscience, there still won't be any consensus as to the actual wording, so then it's fine for even more discussions and RFCs. If RFCBEFORE was done, there would likely be actual shortdescs to !vote on. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 20:58, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Exactly. It's not a dead horse, it's a horse that is not even born yet! Face-glasses.svg First come up with a short description that at least tries to meet WP:SD40. Then explain why it should be better than the current one, 'Divination based on the movements of the stars' (there does seem to be some room for improvement there). Then maybe we can do the RfC thing, where we decide between actual proposals rather than an abstract principle of using a particular pejorative in the SD or not. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 21:51, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Actually, "flogging a dead horse" – implied cruelty aside – is pretty close to the mark. You seem to be making well-researched, carefully reasoned, policy-based arguments to people whose only response is to put their hands over their ears and chant "Astrology is pseudoscience!" like a mantra or some kind of sacred wiki-dogma. It's as if they're trying to turn Wikipedia into a pseudo-religion. The strangest part is that at no stage has anyone actually been arguing that astrology isn't pseudoscience. Harold the Sheep (talk) 01:52, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's more than a mantra, it confers real power. Once an editor can invoke PSEUDOSCIENCE (or FRINGE), they get a partial exemption from NPOV, RS, TENDENTIOUS, and CIVIL. - Palpable (talk) 04:13, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, idk why this is even a debate requiring an RFC but as stated above this description is inline with the preponderance of the evidence. OgamD218 (talk) 08:29, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hi OgamD218, being FRS-summoned here, perhaps you misunderstood the question to be is astrology a pseudoscience? However, everyone here agrees that it is a pseudoscience. The question is rather, should the word pseudoscience be used in the short description? A question that should have been added though is, how do you propose to use it while keeping the SD sufficiently short? Any idea for a good short description? This is an honest question. Thanks, ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 17:19, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apaugasma, you desire to make it short is not based on policy. WP:SD40, is not a policy. WP:Pseudoscience is actual policy. You need a good reason to contradict policy. DolyaIskrina (talk) 18:34, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nobody needs any reason whatsoever to ignore false claims about Wikipedia policy. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:43, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE -- "Any inclusion of pseudoscientific views should not give them undue weight. The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such." Astrology is the pseudoscientific view and it should be described as such. That's policy. You can't WP:LAWYER your way out of that. DolyaIskrina (talk) 18:11, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's clearly described as such in the first sentence of the lead. There's no need to weaponize policy for what is in fact an editorial preference. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 19:55, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes.I think astrology should definitely be described as pseudoscience in the lead. At the very least, "discredited" or "unscientific" or something along the lines of "incorrect assumption." It's one word. It's an important descriptor. It won't take up too much space in the lead.BooleanQuackery (talk) 21:08, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This isn't a question about what the lede says. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:11, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes (I'm the author of this RFC). Astrology has been the quintessential pseudoscience for hundreds of years and was even questioned prior to that by thinkers such as St. Augustine, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) and Avicenna. It is policy to identify pseudoscience as such. It is UNDUE to give priority to a definition that would only make sense 300 years ago. DolyaIskrina (talk) 04:31, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Medieval rejections of astrology were motivated by theological disputes over the nature of free will and divine providence, as well as over disagreements about the detailed workings of cosmology. But there was a wide agreement that the planets and stars did have a causal influence on terrestrial events. See Freudenthal 2009, p. 245: Maimonides himself, as also other thinkers in the tradition of the falsafah like Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and al-Fārābı̄, indeed had a hard time when they tried to refute astrology while yet recognizing that the existence of celestial influences on the sublunary world seemed indubitable.
    What medieval critics of astrology questioned were always the details of the system, not its general principle. See, e.g., Freudenthal 2009, p. 267: Interesting is also the ambivalence that Averroes expresses in his commentary on Avicenna’s medical poem Arjūzah (or: Urjūzah). Notwithstanding Avicenna’s uncompromising rejection of astrology, the poem expresses an astrologically-inspired position concerning the influence of the Moon on the evolution of human illness (Michot 2006, 49*–50*). This elicits from Averroes comments on his attitude to astrology. He explains the astrological assumptions concerning beneficent and maleficent planets and concludes with the remark: “all this is at variance with what has been demonstrated in natural science, namely, that the actions of the planets are all good, and that the existing things [down] here all draw their existence from their motion.”
    That all terrestrial things draw their existence from the motion of the stars is simply basic Aristotelian doctrine; see Saif 2016, pp. 186–187: In On Generation and Corruption, Physics, and Meteorology Aristotle sees the circular motion of the celestial spheres as the efficient cause of the generation of species and considers it responsible for the transformation and alteration of the elements and simple bodies. However, celestial efficient causality is more fully explicated in Arabic early medieval texts on astrology such as those of Abū Maʿšar al-Balḫī.
    About Augustine, Barton 1994, pp. 77–78 harvnb error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFBarton1994 (help) tells us the following: [...] Augustine argues against the Ciceronian argument that divine foreknowledge removes free will. However, he seems to see human wills as in the order of causes determined by God (certus Deo). When it comes to astrology, he finds himself in agreement with Cicero, and indeed trots out some of the old pagan arguments against astrology. The argument is tortuous. Christian prophecy is allowed, but pagan divination of the future, including astrology, is condemned as the work of evil daemons. This allows a small concession to the validity of astrology: the daemons sometimes obtain revelations from divine signs, which are mixed in with their otherwise lying predictions.
    To speak of such ancient and medieval criticisms of astrology as demonic or as not in accordance with the right interpretation of Aristotelian cosmology in the same terms as modern rejections of it as pseudoscience is completely anachronistic, and universally rejected by historians. Moreover, what is truly wp:undue is to narrow the focus on astrology's modern status as pseudoscience, thereby ignoring 90% of the literature on the subject. We're saying it's been recognized as pseudoscience for 300 years in the lead sentence and we are dedicating a long and detailed section on astrology and pseudoscience in the body of the article, but it's simply against reliable sources to frame the whole subject from that modern, presentist perspective. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 16:50, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Barton, Tamsyn (1994). Ancient Astrology. London and New York: Routledge.
    • Freudenthal, Gad (2009). "The Astrologization of the Aristotelian Cosmos: Celestial Influences on the Sublunar World in Aristotle, Alexander of Aphrodisias, and Averroes". In Bowen, Alan; Wildberg, Christian (eds.). New Perspectives on Aristotle’s De caelo. Leiden: Brill. pp. 239–281.
    • Saif, Liana (2016). "The Universe and the Womb: Generation, Conception, and the Stars in Islamic Medieval Astrological and Medical Texts". Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies. 16: 181–198.
    You obviously have an interest in this topic. Perhaps you are an expert of some sort? In which case you might want to think if you have a WP:COI. Do you work in a related field? COI are not bad things, but they need to be disclosed. Expert input is needed. Either way, I think your interest/expertise might be inclining you to try to make an article that is not for the average reader. Further, you are also being inconsistent in your historical relativism. You can't both call astrology "the science of three hundred years ago" and then try to dismiss the ancient critics of Astrology as merely "theological". Remember, there was no scientific method then so it was all science, right? I don't mean to dispute your more nuanced point about whether or not those ancient thinkers accepted the notion of celestial influence or whether or not they were speaking metaphysically or naturalistically, what I am about is protecting the needs of the average reader. Please read WP:ASTONISH. Please read the article as it is currently written. Do you honestly think that is is skewed towards the present? I think it is way too skewed to the past. This is an article for average readers today. DolyaIskrina (talk) 17:41, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is (or is supposed to be) an encyclopaedia. Not a platform for the promotion of ignorance. Having a clue about topics you write about is a good thing. It isn't a 'conflict of interest'. And nor is it a 'conflict of interest' to suggest that the purpose of articles is to educate readers about things they don't know about - which is presumably why they are reading this article. An article discussing a topic that has been of significance for millennia. If readers are unaware of this, we should tell them about it. In detail. You cannot possibly understand the present status of astrology without understanding its deep historical roots. Go peddle your pseudoskeptic rejections of learning somewhere else. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:21, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Conflict of Interest, is an unfortunate term. It does sound like it's a bad thing, but it actually isn't... usually. But one does need to disclose if one has a COI per policy. If it were up to me there would be something like "expert" or "interested party" to designate someone who isn't necessarily making money off of a topic, but who has professional skin in the game. I agree that we don't want to say that the ideal editor is someone without deep knowledge. We WANT to encourage expert editing. But I do think that sometimes editors, often those with a high degree of interest in the topic, get too close to a topic to understand how an article is coming across to the average reader. DolyaIskrina (talk) 19:13, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If you have any evidence that anyone here has an undisclosed conflict of interest, report it at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard. Otherwise, I suggest you strike such comments, and stick to discussing the article. Carry on like this and I will report you for disruption. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:17, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    As my user page states, I'm a devoted student of the history of philosophy, religion, and science. I have published, but nothing that would be of relevance for this article. I'm aware of WP:SELFCITE, but it doesn't apply here. I'm not selectively rendering the POV of a certain 'school' within history of science, just the majority view. Everything I've written on this talk is just really general background knowledge that is commonly accepted by most everyone in the field, which may be readily ascertained by looking at the nature of the sources I cited. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 19:55, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A pseudoscience is something that claims to adhere to scientific principles and methodologies but in fact does not. Scientific principles and methodologies were not by far as rigorous and fixed in the Middle Ages as they are now, but to the extent that they existed, astrology adhered to them. One thing that medieval astrology (as well as alchemy) had going against it was that is drew more upon Stoic physics than upon Aristotelian physics, which meant that it attracted much criticism from the dominant tradition of medieval philosophy, Aristotelianism. However, the situation was still more like the different and competing theoretical frameworks in modern physics (e.g., loop quantum gravity vs string theory) than like one theoretical framework being 'science' and the other one only falsely claiming to be 'science'. Both were highly speculative, and none was based on rigorous empirical testing (though alchemy did show a notable tendency to the latter, and the medical context of most medieval astrology also made its adherents more 'dirty handed' than your average scholastic).
    Moreover, one needs to keep in mind that none of the competing traditions of ancient and medieval natural philosophy ever had much influence upon how the large majority of common people viewed the world, which was rather informed by religious models. This whole thing of falsely claiming to be science only became big in the modern world, where science is the dominant epistemological framework, and where claims of being scientific convey meanings of authority, credibility and truth. It's not that such a thing did not exist at all in the Middle Ages (though claims of truth and authority were much more often based on correct adherence to religious principles), but its meaning and reach was different enough for historians not to conflate it with the modern phenomenon of pseudoscience.
    It's also simply not accurate to imagine that what today are classic examples of pseudoscience, such as alchemy and astrology, were necessarily archetypes of false science in the Middle Ages. That status is, as Hanegraaff illustrated in detail in his brilliant 2012 monograph, an artefact of Enlightenment polemics. Among historians of science, this has been the majority view at least since Thorndike 1955. Yes, our current article reads more like a 19th-century piece of Whig history, but it's nothing new that Wikipedia articles are crap. The good thing is that they can be improved. I've said this before, starting with the lead (and short description) wasn't the brightest idea, but then I do like it very much that at least the lead now does set the proper tone. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 19:55, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Not sure. Certainly any post middle ages century person taking this seriously is a quack, but there are plenty of non-serious uses of zodiac signs which do not purport to be scientific. Astrology is also ancient, and predates the scientific method which is also a problem in presenting it as pseudoscientific as it wasn't so in the past.PrisonerB (talk) 09:28, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No - Per Visviva, WP:SDNOTDEF includes "avoiding anything that could be understood as controversial or judgemental". I'd rather have a shorter description and just don't see a need to add vague pejorative. It's not like that is a big part of the article or not having it in short description will make a difference, and it sniffs a bit of being snarky. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 05:38, 28 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    SHORTDESC is not policy. It is "norms, customs, technicalities, or practices" WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE is policy. DolyaIskrina (talk) 19:56, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes, the point of a short description is to help a reader see that they are about to click on the right article, and this would help someone distinguish the topic from astronomy (which "divination based on the movements of the stars" may not as immediately). It is not controversial in expert sources to describe astrology as pseudoscience, but factual. Moreover, there's something in the description Divination based on the movements of the stars that sounds like describing Magic (illusion) as Actions by magicians that defy the laws of physics.
    Since short descriptions should be short (less than 40 characters), we should also discuss what should not be in the short description. Currently, the movements of the is clutter that may help define the term, but we're not looking to define it. The description divination based on stars would be better to help readers more quickly identify the topic. We could thus have Pseudoscientific divination based on stars (still a tiny bit long) or perhaps Pseudoscience about stars or, as Dolyalskrina suggests, Pseudoscience about celestial influence (slightly closer to a definition but maybe a bit too astronomically technical). — Bilorv (talk) 20:30, 28 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Bilorv: perhaps being misled by the big image at Wikipedia:Short description, I always thought that SDs primarily functioned as subtitles, in which case the definitional aspect would be rather important. Calling astrology pseudoscience may not be controversial (though it is not precise: see my !vote here for ample evidence that in some significant contexts it's not considered pseudoscience, and that it is felt to be an inadequate characterization), but the main reservation here is that it is judgemental: it sounds as if we per se want to prejudge the whole subject as pseudoscientific, while we know that reliable sources do not. Purely as a search disambiguator, 'pseudoscience' may be more effective than 'divination'. I'm not entirely sure though: wouldn't Divination based on the stars or Star-based divination work equally well to disambiguate from 'astronomy'? And if it would, wouldn't it be better to use the more precise and less judgemental word? ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 09:45, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Apaugasma: WP:SDNOTDEF says A short description is not a definition and should not attempt to define the article's subject nor to summarise the lead (emphasis original). Slightly above, there's a more wordy description of the same point: Editors should bear in mind that short descriptions are not intended to define the subject of the article. Rather, they provide a very brief indication of the field that is covered, a short descriptive annotation, and a disambiguation in searches (especially to distinguish the subject from similarly titled subjects in different fields).
    I don't agree that the term is "judgemental".
    I don't think Star-based divination would be so clear, because the word "divination" in a formal context is not too common and its meaning in this context was not clear to me before I looked at Divination. Part of the reason I am so against the the movements of the clutter is that short descriptions will be read at a glance: I'd say we want to tell the reader that they're about to click on the right link or not in under 1 second, perhaps quicker. If they have to think consciously to decide whether it's the right link, they'd be better in most cases to just click the link and decide from there, rendering the short description pointless. — Bilorv (talk) 10:48, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For what it's worth, (such data often needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, though the difference here is obvious) it seems that people are more likely to be familiar with the words 'astrology' and 'divination' than they are with 'pseudoscience': see these Google NGram results. [2] AndyTheGrump (talk) 11:05, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes I find Bilorv's argument persuasive in this case. XOR'easter (talk) 00:15, 4 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes for reasons stated by Bilorv NE0mAn7o! (talk) 03:48, 19 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No. I came here from WP:CR thinking I might close the discussion, but there isn't an obvious consensus and I decided to have an opinion instead. Many comments here have not engaged with the actual RFC question, which is not whether astrology is pseudo-scientific, or whether that word should be in the lede, but rather whether the word should specifically be used in the short description. Of course astrology is a pseudoscience. Of course the article should make that clear per WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE. But the short description is not the article. The current short description already identifies the article well, conveys that there are magical unscientific ideas involved, and doesn't waste 13 of its 40-ish recommended characters (per WP:SDLENGTH) on a word that conveys no additional meaning. I appreciate (and do not agree with) Bilory's argument above, but something like "Pseudoscience about stars" is much less clear than the current wording when it comes to identifying the topic. Furthermore short descriptions are metadata; they are specifically not intended to "define the article subject nor to summarise the lead" and should not be "controversial or judgemental" (WP:SDNOTDEF) which "pseudoscience" will be for some readers. So there is no policy requirement to include the word in the short description, and a well-supported essay indicating that it should not be. Thparkth (talk) 21:29, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    SHORTDESC is not policy. SDNOTDEF is also not policy. WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE is policy. It is not controversial to call Astrology pseudoscience. DolyaIskrina (talk) 20:02, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with everything you said, and I believe I already mentioned these things (explicitly or implicitly) in my comment. Thparkth (talk) 20:06, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Right I think you map out the shape of the debate accurately. Brevity, and not being controversial are both indeed good goals. The question is, do they trump policy? Having a slightly longer short description seems to me to be a small price to pay in order to achieve policy. Some no !votes discuss things like "pejoritive" and "proving points" which I think are only in the eye of the beholder, but the policy is clear. We should label pseudoscience as such. DolyaIskrina (talk) 21:53, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    From what I can see there is no policy requirement to specifically use the word pseudoscience in the short description. Thparkth (talk) 23:19, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No. Like Thparkth I came here from WP:ANRFC but reading the discussion I realise that I have an opinion about the question, so I'm participating rather than closing. This question is wholly about the short description, whose purpose is to aid people in determining whether the this article is the one they are looking for or not. The arguments here, and the article itself, make it clear that labelling Astrology as a whole either "pseudoscience" or "not pseudoscience" would both be wrong. Accordingly the short description should not state or imply either position. Thryduulf (talk) 14:19, 14 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If the article fails to make it clear that Astrology is a pseudoscience, then the article is in violation of WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE DolyaIskrina (talk) 20:05, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's mentioned in the first sentence of the lead, and again in more elaborate wording in the second paragraph of the lead (disappeared as an area of legitimate scientific pursuit, no scientific validity or explanatory power, lost its academic and theoretical standing). It's also abundantly covered in the Scientific analysis and criticism section, which is entirely devoted to astrology and pseudoscience. We're not leaving the slightest doubt about astrology's utter lack of scientific credibility in the contemporary context, which is of course as everyone here agrees it should be. ☿ Apaugasma (talk ) 20:27, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thryduulf is making a "both sides" argument, saying that the article has not come down on one side or the other so neither should the short description. This, however, is contrary to policy which is that we label pseudoscience as such. So if the article is as clear as you say about which side we land on, then the short description should follow suit and make it clear that Astrology is pseudoscience. DolyaIskrina (talk) 21:56, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No. A short description shouldn't qualify the subject in this manner. This just seems like an attempt to be able to "I told you so!" people with their phone during an argument. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 23:55, 14 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Policy is clear. We are required, in fact, to qualify the subject in this manner. DolyaIskrina (talk) 21:57, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I know, which is why do. Right there in the article. There is no policy regarding putting pseudoscience in every short description. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 22:23, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The text now:

"Divination based on the movements of the stars."

Old text (having had long consensus approval):

"Pseudoscience claiming celestial objects influence human affairs."

Proposed text (if we don't just keep old version)

  • "Pseudoscience about celestial influence"

this is shorter than both and more accurate than the new, because "stars" ignores planets, commets, moons and meteors. Also it complies with WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE. DolyaIskrina (talk) 18:34, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please stop pretending that WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE mandates specific wording for short descriptions. It doesn't. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:40, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE -- "Any inclusion of pseudoscientific views should not give them undue weight. The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such." DolyaIskrina (talk) 04:11, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which in no shape or form in any way mandates (or even suggests) that the short description in this article (or any other) has to include any one specific word. That isn't even remotely policy.
It should be noted that only the first description above actually tells readers what the subject of article actually is. The second is vague, and the third more so, to the extent that it entirely fails to fulfil the purpose of a short description: "a concise explanation of the scope of the page". 'Celestial influence' could mean almost anything - including things which science recognises as very real, and considers essential to human life. The seasons are the result of 'celestial influence'. As are the tides. And isn't sunlight 'celestial influence'? Astrology is now rejected as pseudoscience not because it proposes 'celestial influence' in the abstract, but because it is a form of divination based on principles incompatible with what we actually know about how the universe beyond our own planet influences things. And if it is really so essential to assert that science now rejects astrology in the short description, a mere assertion that it is pseudoscience is a piss-poor way to do so anyway. It is vacuous sloganising, an insult to readers intelligence, and better suited to billboards in Pyongyang than on a website which claims to be promoting knowledge. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:47, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm. I asked this before, but to be clear, do you think the word divine implies "pseudoscience"? Yes, I agree that my proposed SD is not better than the original one. But I disagree that the new one is better. I like "human affairs" and "celestial objects." Stars is just wrong. How about "pseudoscience about celestial influence on human affairs." DolyaIskrina (talk) 15:07, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about proposing a short description that actually tells readers what the article is about. Which is divination - a word readers ought to be familiar with. Or if they aren't, they have the article to read to find out in the case of astrology, or an entire article on the subject if they want to find out more. 'Pseudoscience' isn't a description of astrology at all - it is a statement about what it isn't. Vacuous sloganising for the sake of it, at best. AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:17, 26 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal I would suggest that the short description include the phrasing "pseudoscientific divination". There isn't, and cannot be, room for nuance in a short description. I read Thagard's essay, and yes, it is full of nuance, but it is also 44 years old, and quite dated. He says that his own criterion marks astrology as pseudoscientific, but I found his arguments unpersuasive, especially because he credulously cites the statistical results obtained by self-described "neo-astrologer" Michel Gauquelin "to suggest that through the use of statistical techniques astrology is at least verifiable". He lost me there. Carlstak (talk) 16:55, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Isn't all divination pseudoscientific? Popcornfud (talk) 17:05, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, of course, but some readers don't know that—it's an adjective that clarifies the meaning, just as we might say "that damned pseudoscientific intelligent design" (I can assure you that many of them have no idea what either word means, but those who don't will tend to be the very ones who believe in astrology and intelligent design). I'm trying to suggest an alternative that will put this nightmare to an end.;-) Carlstak (talk) 17:33, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like any of the above proposals. Interestingly the article divination does not have the word "pseudoscientific" on the page. apparently only dowsing is (divination + pseudoscience). Just like on this page there is an attempt to say that only (astrology + 1800 years = pseudoscience) DolyaIskrina (talk) 17:38, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see your reasoning - but personally I can't support a shortdesc that's tautological. This isn't the place to teach readers what "divination" means. Popcornfud (talk) 10:40, 2 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I threw the I Ching and the oracle told me that divination is nonsense and that you are wrong.;-) Carlstak (talk) 16:18, 3 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's two types of people in the world. People who don't need to be told that divination is fake, and people who won't believe you when you tell them. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 17:35, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hahaha. I had to smoke some weed to clear my mind after reading half this page.;-) Carlstak (talk) 17:38, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • No***Because the prefix pseudo- indicates something false or spurious, of which I Astrology is neither. MOS:CONTENTIOUSWritethisway (talk) 21:56, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Late, but no, all divination is not pseudoscientific. Pseudoscientific is not synonymous with false, it is a very specific category, As per the Pseudoscience page: Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method. Ifá divination, for example, is entirely religious and makes no claim to be scientific. The vast majority of divinatory practices do not claim to be scientific. Astrology is a special case. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 14:45, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 16 November 2022[edit]

According to several studies, Sixtus IV was the first Catholic pope to draw up and interpret a horoscope, Leo X and Paul III always relied on the advice of astrologers, and Julius II chose his coronation date astrologically.[1][2][3]

Please, insert it to "Cultural impact" section Marcypfv (talk) 22:18, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not done. Academia and Zodiac Sign are not reliable sources. The 1917 version of the The Catholic Encyclopedia is too outdated to be considered a reliable source. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:29, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Please add to literature list, for a more balanced overview[edit]

Carlson, S. "Astrology" in Experientia, vol. 44, p. 290 (1988). A clear review.

Carlson, S. "A Double Blind Test of Astrology" in Nature, vol. 318, p. 419 (5 Dec. 1985). A technical paper describing a good experiment examining whether astrology works.

Dean, G. "Does Astrology Need to be True?" in Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 86-87, p. 116; Spring 1987, p. 257. An important examination of tests about astrology.

Dean, G. & Kelly, I. "Does Astrology Work: Astrology and Skepticism 1975-2000" in Kurtz, Paul, ed. Skeptical Odysseys. 2001, Prometheus Books.

Kelly, I. "Modern Astrology: A Critique" in Psychological Reports, vol. 81, p. 1035 (1997). An excellent review. (An expanded version can be found on the first web site recommended below.)

Kelly, I." Why Astrology Doesn't Work" in Psychological Reports, vol. 82, p. 527 (1998).

Kurtz, P. & Fraknoi, A. "Scientific Tests of Astrology Do Not Support Its Claims" in Skeptical Inquirer, Spring 1985, p. 210.

Kurtz, P., et al. "Astrology and the Presidency" in Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1988, p. 3. A good summary of the controversy concerning astrology in the Reagan White House.

Lovi, G. "Zodiacal Signs Versus Constellations" in Sky & Telescope, Nov. 1987, p.507. 2A02:A020:1:F1BB:DDB5:F37B:F8E8:AD0F (talk) 23:17, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 19 January 2023[edit]

please add a reference to a famous work of music based on the zodiac, namely, Irma.servatius (talk) 16:52, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why? what does this tell us about astrology we need to know? Slatersteven (talk) 17:00, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Considering the vast number of works that make some mention of the zodiac or astrology, I think adding this sort of thing will make the article too long. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:19, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point. Slatersteven (talk) 18:22, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since When Has It Been Pseudoscience?[edit]

The question is 17th v 18th Century. The Society of Astrologers, (a page I'll be creating soon and would love some help with), was formed in the 17th century in contrast to the Royal Society. Their purpose was to restore Astrology's legitimacy. According to at least one historian they failed. Their focus and arguments were primarily religious, but the fact that the Royal Society continued on without them and the Society of Astrologers went defunct IMO demonstrates that already in the 17th century scientists were not taking it seriously. Yes, there was an RfC, but now we have new RS, and more to come -- Massimo Pigliucci an expert on pseudoscience, feels that the term "pseudoscience" makes sense even back when Cicero was criticizing Astrology.DolyaIskrina (talk) 15:11, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here on page 220 apparently we get 1679 as the date of a "clear rejection of astrology in works of astronomy" (quote from Astrology and science, not the reference )[1] I'm pretty sure 1679 is in the 17th century, no? DolyaIskrina (talk) 04:16, 15 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The source only mentions a book dedicated to astronomy that eschews astrology. It is certainly not a "clear rejection" of astrology, at least as far as the source describes it. Even if it did reject astrology outright, that doesn't mean the academy at large rejected astrology.
It took months of arguing to change the lead and its incredibly sneaky to wait until all that dies down for months to start editing it like no one would notice. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 22:00, 15 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the contrary, I want people to notice. I think we need to discuss this deeply held desire by some editors to, despite a high percentage of the RS that are currently in the article and more to come from me, promote a single POV from a group of historians who want to contextualize and legitimize astrology. I actually think there is value to that position and that it belongs in the article, but it currently is overwhelming the scientific and philosophy-of-science consensus that Astrology has pretty much been in opposition to Natural Philosophy for its entire existence. It gets a little complicated, however, whether or not we are talking about Western astrology. And the definition of pseudoscience is also tricky. And then there is the issue of distinguishing astronomy from astrology. But certainly as soon as you can say, "there was astrology and there was astronomy", you are firmly in the pseudoscientific zone. Saying this happened in the 17th century is quite modest, given that it actually happened as far back as the 1st Century when people like Cicero were plainly stating that astrology was in opposition to reason. Cicero wasn't saying "ignore the heavens" He was saying "astrology is bunk". And lastly, I haven't re-read the most recent RFC's, but I can tell you right now that they were not as broad as to say "is the lead perfect and should no changes be made to the body?" New RS requires a new discussion. So if that's what you consider "incredibly sneaky" lock me up. DolyaIskrina (talk) 00:20, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is completely ahistorical to claim that astrology has been opposed to natural philosophy for its entire existence. Even Thaggard et al admits this.
P.S. If you didn't know, Cicero was an academic skeptic. As with all schools of ancient skepticism, they denied knowledge was possible altogether. Cicero wasn't arguing for astronomy against astrology. He was opposed to the idea that natural sciences -- including astrology in the first-century -- could lead to knowledge at all. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 01:36, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm now home and can make a more substantial response to this. You state that a group of historians who want to contextualize and legitimize astrology are overwhelming the scientific and philosophy-of-science consensus that Astrology has pretty much been in opposition to Natural Philosophy for its entire existence. Firstly, there is no such group of historians who are overwhelming the consensus, whatever that means. There is a single -- small -- section dedicated to contextualizing astrology within a broader view of the history of science. The Reception in the social sciences subsection is preceded by three subsections (over 1,500 words) regarding the scientific validity of astrology as practiced today. The lede introduces pseudoscience in the tenth word. And even then, historians of science are experts. There is no overwhelm[ing] the consensus. There is simply the consensus among historians of science that astrology, as practiced before the 18th century, was not pseudoscience, let alone in opposition to Natural Philosophy. This view is even shared by Paul Thagard, who writes:

In the time of Ptolemy or even Kepler, astrology had few alternatives in the explanation of human personality and behavior. Existing alternatives were scarcely more sophisticated or corroborated than astrology. Hence astrology should be judged as not pseudoscientific in classical or Renaissance times, even though it is pseudoscientific today. Astrology was not simply a perverse sideline of Ptolemy and Kepler, but part of their scientific activity, even if a physicist involved with astrology today should be looked at askance. Only when the historical and social aspects of science are neglected does it become plausible that pseudoscience is an unchanging category. Rationality is not a property of ideas eternally: ideas, like actions, can be rational at time but irrational at others. Hence relativizing the science/pseudoscience distinction to historical periods is a desirable result.

You mention the Society of Astrologers. You also seem to know that it was intended to defend astrology against religious criticism, not scientific criticism. The Royal Society initially overlapped with the Society of Astrologers in a significant degree, so while the latter failed, the former wasn't not taking [astrology] seriously, nor was the Society of Astrologers formed in contrast with the Royal Society. It is also doubtful you read the source you linked -- Pfeffer doesn't mention "pseudoscience" anywhere in her paper. In fact, the word pseudoscience was not coined until the late 18th century.
To concur with User:AndytheGrump, your edits are [n]ot an improvement.
Man, I love Template:Talk quote inline so much... MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 07:25, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You think there is a consensus amongst historians of science? Do you have sources for that? The two sources in the lead supporting the 18th century as the point of demarcation are not historians of science. One source is from a Catholic Encyclopedia and the other is a defense of "esotericism" by a "professor of the History of Hermetic Philosophy"!!!! Maybe you have better sources you could put in? Yes your Paul Thagard quotation is good, but he's obviously making a provocative polemic. And he doesn't support the 18th century. Thagard's position may be getting more of a foothold, but it's hardly a done deal. It's not a settled consensus, and so for us, as editors, decide Thagard's take in the correct one is not NPOV. We need to make it clear that throughout its history Astrology has had its critics. And as I've said giving the contextualizers a voice is also good. But right now the scale is tipped the wrong way. Per WP:FRINGE. DolyaIskrina (talk) 23:14, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here is Massimo Pigliucci who is as well if not better credentialed than Thagard, from his substack: "“In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded.” That is completely correct, and as we have seen it is a principle that goes back at least to Hume and Laplace, though Cicero argues in a similar way in De Divinatione, where he criticizes the Stoics for believing in the pseudoscience of divination (he didn’t use that term, but that’s clearly what he meant)." DolyaIskrina (talk) 23:43, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pigliucci's self-published Substack blog where he puts words in Cicero's mouth is not an improvement on Thagard. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 00:10, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's start with Thagard:
There are others, but these are the main ones referenced in the page.
Anyway, just because you put the [history of] esotericism in scare quotes doesn't mean it isn't a real field of study. Hanegraaff's book is published by Cambridge University Press and isn't a defense of esotericism at all. Plus, you seem to imply he's a quack of some sort, and not a professor at the University of Amsterdam specializing in the history of astrology and other words, exactly the kind of expert one should reference -- if anyone knows the relationship between early modern science and astrology, it's Hanegraaff. Plus, the consensus among editors is that the Catholic Encyclopedia is reliable for many topics in religious studies.
There is already discussion about ancient and pre-18th century criticism of astrology on the page. Not an improvement. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 00:05, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, so we have two questions on the table. 1) was Astrology a pseudoscience before the 18th century? 2) was astrology criticized throughout its history prior to that?
As I said, the sources listed in the lead do not seem to support the text written there (18th century). Can you find support from your better sources? You've provided a nice list, however...
Thagard, who is pushing the historical relativistic point the hardest is a philosopher, but I'll accept him as relevant, and place against him Pigliucci who disagrees with him.
We are not allowed to decide which of them is correct nor give undue balance to one of their opinions. Especially since Thagard seems to have a spicy new take on it. He might be right to scold the stuffy old historians and their presentism, however, we don't just jump on any bandwagon that rolls by. Right now the longest paragraph in the lead pushes Thagard's position.
Now looking at your other sources. Do you have the books on hand? Can you provide author bios?
Tamsyn Barton, I can find nothing about then. Do you know what their credentials are?
As we've discussed Hanegraaf is something other than a historian of science. Yes you are correct he has credentials, but not in the field of history of science.
But the following look legit to me:
Francesca Rochberg. I'll pursue the exact pages quoted here to see what she is actually saying.
Liba Taub also looks legit to me.
Hankinson is good too.
As to Pfeffer, the source that I added to the page, you are right she doesn't use the term pseudoscience, but I disagree with your logical shell game of saying "the criticism was religious". The Society of Astrologers was grasping at legitimacy and failing in the 17th century. The straw they reached for was religion, because they the Natural Philosophy straw wasn't even an option for them. Regardless of what straw they were reaching for, they were obviously drowning in the 17th, not the 18th century. Here's what she says:
"The Society of Astrologers came into being at a time when mathematical practitioners thrived in London. Those with expertise in timekeeping, navigation, surveying, hydrog- raphy and other fields grew in popularity and sophistication from the mid-seventeenth century and were increasingly organized in professional and commercial institutions.14 This was a culture that privileged arts that were practical. Called upon to provide guid- ance on relationships, travel, agriculture and health, astrologers enjoyed extraordinary popularity in England especially during the Civil War (1642–51) and Interregnum (1649–60), when practitioners promised to address various personal and political needs.15 Yet the formation of the Society of Astrologers was prompted by the knowledge that the art was being seriously challenged in learned circles.16 It was also harder to access astrological teaching at the universities. The Savilian statutes of 1619, for example, had ‘utterly debarred’ the professor of astronomy at Oxford from teaching ‘all judicial astrology without exception’.17 Such circumstances called for the opportunities afforded by institutionalization." DolyaIskrina (talk) 14:26, 29 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've already mentioned that Pigliucci's self-published blog (in which he places words in Cicero's mouth) is not an improvement or "on equal footing" with Thagard's paper, which is an academic publication. The former is only relevant for Pigliucci's own views. In any case, there are not two questions on the table. There is only one question: do relevant, reliable sources support a 17th century date for the ascendance of astrology as a pseudoscience? The answer is a resounding "no."
Tamsyn Barton is an anthropologist specializing in the history of astrology, an alumnus of Oxford University and SOAS University of London, with a PhD from Cambridge University. Hanegraaff specializes in the history of astrology and dismissing his research is inane.
Lastly the only thing that matters with the Pfeffer source is that isn't relevant, it doesn't mention pseudoscience at all.
Feel free to check the sources. But if you do not have any sources that explicitly support a date in the 17th century for the recognition of astrology as a pseudoscience (which is borderline impossible, since the word didn't even exist in the 17th century) then refrain from editing the page to suggest such. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 01:11, 30 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As to Pigliucci's Notability you can't have a gripe, so under both WP:ABOUTSELF and WP:PARITY, his "blog" is the professional opinion of a SECONDARY expert. And what he is saying there is completely in keeping with his published work and his relevant expertise. But don't worry, I have more sources coming. In the meantime...
Here is a Wikipedia essay that you might find useful. You can find it here: Wikipedia:Frequently misinterpreted sourcing policy. It's just an essay so doesn't carry the weight of Policy or Guideline, but still some food for thought, namely:
"Most of our assessments of publisher reliability are based on pre-Internet reputation, and reputable publishers often print material by people who turn out to be quacks or frauds, anyway.
Being from a "major" (says who?) publisher is not proof that a source is reliable; it's just an indication that it is more likely to be reliable than self-published blogging or e-books – because at least one professional editor acted as a filter, and because other reliable sources cite material from this publisher on a regular basis."
Cheers DolyaIskrina (talk) 23:48, 1 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As per WP:ABOUTSELF, [s]elf-published and questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves. Thus, it would be an acceptable source for a statement like Pigliucci has stated that he believes astrology was a pseudoscience in antiquity (or something, a single parenthetical is not really notable here.) It would not be a reliable source for actually stating that astrology actually was a pseudoscience in antiquity, especially when a better-quality source (Thagard) says the opposite. A self-published Substack blog (scare quotes notwithstanding) where Pigliucci puts words in Cicero's mouth is not an improvement on Thagard for the date in which astrology becomes a pseudoscience.
WP:PARITY isn't really applicable, unless you're implying that Paul Thagard is a fringe source (he isn't.) As per your own quotation, academic publication is an indication that it is more likely to be reliable than self-published blogging or e-books. In this case, the academic sources given absolutely are more reliable than a single, off-hand parenthetical self-published by Pigliucci. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 02:07, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yay, we agree! We can indeed follow policy and say, per ABOUTSELF that Pigliucci an expert in pseudoscience, philosophy and science, a native speaker of Italian and a scholar of Greek and Roman philosophers in particular, says that Cicero considered Astrology to be a pseudoscience. Would you like to put that in or should I? DolyaIskrina (talk) 21:49, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I originally stated, a single parenthetical is not really notable here. It should not imply that such a view is comparable to the scholarly consensus -- which is that astrology was only recognized as a pseudoscience in the 18th century -- which is clearly what you're trying to do. As far as I know, Pigliucci is only a scholar of Greek and Roman philosophers insofar as he's associated with modern Stoicism, anyway. He's not really a notable source for elucidating what Cicero thought about astrology, especially apparent since he puts the word pseudoscience in his mouth despite the fact that such a concept would be completely foreign to a first-century BCE academic skeptic. MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS REAL EMO!(talk or whatever) 00:11, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. ^ Hoskin, Michael, ed. (2003). The Cambridge concise history of astronomy (Printing 2003. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521572910.