Astrology is bigotry
Astrology is bigotry is an argument which posits that certain forms of astrology are bigoted, specifically any form which prescribes behavior to people based on when they're born. Although most people who become fascinated with astrology see it as a helpful way of understanding other people by placing them into groups, they often fail to realize how their supernatural beliefs are causing them to become prejudiced and even bigoted.
- 1 How Astrology Is Bigotry
- 2 Criticisms
- 3 How to Avoid Bigotry In Astrology
- 4 Links
How Astrology Is Bigotry
Consider the statement, "I hate Italian people because they're so irresponsible." Unless a person is already bigoted against Italian people, they will immediately recognize this as a racist statement because nothing about being born in Italy causes irresponsibility. Or, consider the statement, "I would never hire a woman because they're not loyal." Again, there is nothing about being a woman that causes someone to be disloyal, so, unless a person is already sexist against women, they would see this statement as bigoted.
Now consider a type of statement frequently uttered by people who believe in astrology, "I would never date a Scorpio, they're so dishonest!" Of course, what the statement is really saying is, "I would never date someone born between October 23 and November 22, they're so dishonest." When stated without the mystique of astrology, the bigotry is plainly visible.
Astrology doesn't make such blanket statements
- People who believe in astrology don't think that everyone of a particular sign exhibits every trait associated with their sign, all the time, to the maximum level. They would never say, "All Scorpios are dishonest," but rather something like, "Scorpios tend to be more dishonest than people of other signs, so you have to be cautious when dealing with them."
This doesn't eliminate the bigotry, it merely reduces it. The statement, "I don't think all Native Americans are dishonest all the time, I just think they're more dishonest than other races, so you have to be cautious when dealing with them," isn't as bigoted as, "All Native Americans are dishonest," but it is still bigoted.
My past experiences show that I'm correct
- The Scorpios I've met really have been more dishonest than the other people, so there is some truth to it.
Consider the statement, "I've met a lot of redheads in my life, and they have been more dishonest than brunettes." Even if a person really has had terrible luck with redheads, this is entirely correlation, not causation. There is nothing about a person's hair color that makes them any more or less honest; it's just an unfortunate coincidence. This means, despite this person's past, it would still be bigoted of them to presume any future redheads they may meet will be dishonest.
Astrology prescribes a lot of positive behaviors as well
- Astrology isn't just the negative traits, it also says that Scorpios are ambitious and intuitive, and it's not bigoted to give someone a compliment.
Prejudices, even the positive ones, can be harmful for a number of reasons. "Scorpios are ambitious," may not sound prejudice, and even if we were to change it to, "white people are ambitious," that still may sound acceptable, but, if white people are ambitious simply because they're white, what does that say about everyone who isn't white?
Another way this can be harmful is by presuming people have traits they don't actually have. If a person believes Scorpios are naturally more intuitive than others, they might seek them out for matters where intuition is important, perhaps asking them for career advice. However, if people who are born between October 23 and November 22 are no more intuitive than anyone else, then the trust in their intuition is misplaced. In fact, if the person they consult is aware the person who believes in astrology will uncritically trust their opinion, they could easily take advantage of the situation.
People born at certain times really do exhibit these attributes
- If astrology is correct, and there really is a celestial influence forcing Scorpios to be more dishonest than everyone else, then it's not bigotry to say they're more dishonest, it's just being cautious.
Suppose a biologist discovered that the same genes which cause people to have blue eyes also makes them more prone to lying compared to brown-eyed people. Would you find it acceptible if employers suddenly fired all their blue-eye employees and refused to ever hire another blue-eyed person?
Of course, we know this could never happen because over a century of biology and psychology has shown us that a person's behavior is far too complicated to be predicted by a single factor like eye color. Human behavior is the product of hundreds of genes, hormones, the structure of the brain, a lifetime of traumas and achievements, and thousands of other different factors. Ignoring all these complexities and prescribing behavior based on the time of year a person was born is just as bigoted as prescribing behavior based on the nation in which the person was born.
How to Avoid Bigotry In Astrology
Unfortunately, a large part of astrology is prescribing behaviors to people based on when they were born rather than using factors with demonstrable causation. But, a good method for determining if a belief from astrology is bigoted is to simply replace the star sign with some other human grouping and see if it sounds bigoted. For example:
|Common Astrological Belief||Obvious Bigotry|
|Aquariuses tend to be unpredictable and extremist.||Europeans tend to be unpredictable and extremist.|
|Arieses tend to be confrontational and impulsive.||Asians tend to be confrontational and impulsive.|
|Cancers tend to be suspicious and clingy.||Tall people tend to be suspicious and clingy.|
|Capricorns tend to be pessimistic and stubborn.||Lesbians tend to be pessimistic and stubborn.|
|Geminis tend to be superficial and anxious.||Baritones tend to be superficial and anxious.|
|Leos tend to be arrogant and dominating.||People from South Dakota tend to be arrogant and dominating.|
|Libras tend to be unreliable and lazy.||Left-handed people tend to be unreliable and lazy.|
|Sagittariuses tend to be tactless and inconsistent.||Cisgender men tend to be tactless and inconsistent.|
|Scorpios tend to be manipulative and resentful.||People born in 1996 tend to be manipulative and resentful.|
|Pisces tend to be idealistic and over-sensitive.||People with sickle cell anemia tend to be idealistic and over-sensitive.|
|Tauruses tend to be self-indulgent and possessive.||Women named Linda tend to be self-indulgent and possessive.|
|Virgos tend to be judgemental and fussy.||People who think pineapple belongs on pizza tend to be judgemental and fussy (actually, this one is true).|
- astrosociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/K2-Activities_Astrology.pdf - Astronomical Society of the Pacific - student activity.