I would like to humbly suggest that the Mountain Xpress drop Rob Brezsny’s syndicated feature, “Freewill Astrology.” Amazingly, nearly every major newspaper in this country still carries a regular astrology feature. Maybe a forward-thinking paper like the Xpress can start to reverse this trend.
Astrology is an ancient belief system based on the concept that human lives are affected by the positions of the stars. Newspaper astrology columns generally consist of vaguely worded advice that can usually be applicable to almost anyone. Astrology has no scientific merit; it is pure superstition.
It would not be too difficult to set up an experiment to scientifically test astrology, examining “lucky” and “unlucky” dates for people who were born at the exact same time, and comparing the result with data from people born at random times. Not surprisingly, I have never heard of this experiment being done.
You may argue that the astrology column is harmless fun. I would counter that encouraging and propagating pseudo-science is not fun; it’s dangerous. President Ronald Reagan reportedly consulted astrologers when making decisions! If that’s not enough to scare you, consider that humans raised in a society where beliefs are commonly accepted without any proof are liable to believe any idea that is persuasively presented to them. For example, pseudo-science was once used to justify the belief that dark-skinned people are inferior to light-skinned people. Sadly, that effort was all too successful, causing untold misery. Real science reveals [that] the races of humans are pretty much genetically identical.
I used to think science was dull and boring, but real science is way more amazing, entertaining and mind-blowing than pseudo-science. The popularity of recent books by scientists like Richard Dawkins, Michael Pollan and Jared Diamond make this clear. Maybe we could replace the astrology column with an article by one of these guys. I would also be fine with fiction, fantasy or poetry—just as long as it doesn’t pretend to be science.
– Jeff Hersk