1. You are allowed to believe what you want, as are all of us (at least in my country, and in yours). However, your being granted the right to believe in astrology (to whatever extent you do) does not imply the removal of anyone else's right to disagree with you, attempt to persuade you that your opinions are wrong or to ridicule your beliefs. Sounds like you're asking for the right to believe anything you like without contradiction, which you don't have.

      posted by Ben at 11:43:01 AM on July 15, 2004  
  2. Yes, but... Disagreeing with someone's opinion or belief is one thing. Picking on him because of it is quite another. One could argue that this falls under freedom of speech as well. Maybe that is true... it's just not a very nice thing to do.

    Also, I wonder why picking on a relative harmless belief system is apparently OK, while picking on more harmful ones falls under "respecting someone's beliefs".
      posted by Hans Nowak at 12:17:07 PM on July 15, 2004  
  3. I think most critics of astrology are not so much dismayed by the "faith" of its adherents but the often pseudo-scientific rationalization of that faith. One can believe what one wishes, but don't call it science; call it what it is: meta-physics, philosophy or religion.

      posted by KJO at 12:20:24 PM on July 15, 2004  
  4. I can speak only for myself -- *I* don't believe in astrology one whit, but I certainly don't mind if YOU do.

    Curiously, this is the second posting I have read today on the subject of Astrology. I found Alan Green's blog entry insightful, perhaps you will also.
      posted by Michael Chermside at 12:42:58 PM on July 15, 2004  
  5. I saw that post too... that's where I got the link. :-)
      posted by Hans Nowak at 01:10:43 PM on July 15, 2004  
  6. IMO, a lot of "problem" comes from a lack of organization. Astrology adherents tend not to be as organized as a religious community, so don't have a collective roar that's easily heard. If you look at any of the major religions or even atheism, there is enough of a group and cohesion that an offense is a collective offense. It is an advantage of being an organized religion.

      posted by Sean at 06:26:49 PM on July 15, 2004  
  7. And from the point of becoming an organised religion, the wars and inquisitions begin, or at least the real unpleasantness does. I surely don't have to mention any pseudo-scientific religions or cults explicitly to make the point that it isn't just established religious movements that can become unpleasant.

    As for acceptance of different beliefs, even *within* a particular religious/cultural environment you get people teasing others about how serious or otherwise their beliefs are, and that isn't even touching on stuff like sectarianism or inter-religious intolerance.

    However, back on topic, what I'd like to see is a study into how the seasons and times of the year could have affected the development and behaviour of humans in a pre- or proto-civilised era. It's quite possible that environmental factors could have been badly rationalised into beliefs about constellations and planets rather than the real causes of such effects on personality and behaviour.

    Anyway, despite not being a believer of things astrological, I do find time to read Psychic Psmith whenever I can. ;-)
      posted by The Badger at 08:46:24 AM on July 16, 2004  
  8. Many historians believe that it was early man's interest in the stars and planets that started them on the road to civilisation. It was something beyond the immediate to try to make sense of and so nurtured abstract thought. Only in recent history have astrology and astronomy diverged.

    As for who it is acceptable to make fun of, and who it is not, it depends where you are and who you are with. I can't think of a single identifiable group that is not ridiculed or belittled by some other group at some stage or other.

    They'll all be sorry when the astrologers rise up and take over the world... if only they could ever agree on an auspicious date :)
      posted by Alan Green at 01:51:41 AM on July 22, 2004