How to debunk astrology for layman?
#1
More than religion, astrology  causes significant damage to people's lives here. I was thinking "is there a simple argument against astrology that would debunk it even for a layman?" It is pretty hard to convince it as bullshit when they say the magnetic and gravitational fields of planets affects us in mysterious ways and to fully understand it requires a lot of understanding of the cosmic phenomena. To be honest, I used to believe too until recently. I used to be a mild believer in religions and astrology until one point. I had read a lot of ramayana, mahabharatha, etc. As a kid it was fascinating but now they don't seem more real than "Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter"! I had never really read bible though since it is boring to read it as a kid. Anyway, I used to think some special stuff might be there in it., until a serious christian quoted some totally unbelievable thing; "it does not matter whether you are good or not, but if you don't believe in jesus, you'll go to hell!!" This was the turning point for me. Only after this, I started google-ing for the authenticity of bible and along with christianity, every other religion also got busted for me.

Now the point is, there should be something like this for every person. Majority of the people are normal and once they see a certain severe contradiction, they just get disillusioned instantly (or shall I say "enlightened" ?!! ). Before that, just mocking them for what they believe is no way helpful. Honestly, most atheists are cocky and I would not have wanted to take advice from them earlier. It simply comes down to "Oh you are smart and I am dumb, is it?" !  

Coming back to astrology, it is a bit hard to break this belief once the person had seen some coincidences. If you visit 10 astrologers, each might say a different thing. But at least one will get your past sufficiently right. Then you start believing him. But you don't know if this one guy who got your past right, is right with everyone else who visited him. Basically, every astrologer does not say the same thing. And the one who got your past correct, does not get it correct for everyone. When an astrologer does not get your past right, you just say he is a bad astrologer and move to the next one who gets your past right. But you don't get to check if this guy got it right for everyone! Its just probability theory, but don't expect everyone to understand probability theory!! Pretty hard situation, right?

Is it possible to come up with some simple arguments that can help people realise the stupidity in astrology? Something that I thought might help was this; the whole panchang or the hindu calendar on which astrology is based on seems to be wrong. The planets that astrology talks about or not even the real planets. Can you predict the position of say moon or mars with the panchang accurately?
(Ref: http://vedicastrology.wikidot.com/physical-astronomy-and-surya-siddhanta)

I don't think many believers even realise the planets talked about in astrology are not even real!! Astrology still says the center of universe in mount meru!! 

Anyone has some points to add to this or about this?

Update 1:

I think I just got a good one that many can understand!!

You consult your astrologer before getting married, before starting a business, before changing jobs, before buying property, etc. Almost at every point where some serious money is involved. Now, tell me why some compnay like google or microsoft or yahoo or even amazon or ebay or flipkart into this business of predicting the future? Even the online taxi guys like Ola and Uber are doing well. Why are we not hearing about a serious astrology website? Of course, there are astrology websites. But, why is no one popular? No good astrologer is interested in making money? No good astrologer is interested in doing this as a social service? Both points cannot be true at the same time! There are astrologers who are not trying to cheat and they just tell you what they believe. Even if they are not after money, they would do this as a service to the community! There are plenty of astrology sites. If any of them had been correct, the whole world would be talking about them!! There is absolutely no barrier for them right now!!

Do all astrologists predict the same thing? If it is just based on rules, why computers are not so accurate with astrology? Any software engineer should be able to do this. When you meet an astrologer, you wait till he explains your past correctly. Once you are convinced with that you then believe what he says as your future. If this was a science, then every average astrologer should be fairly accurate. Never happens! You meet 10 astrologers and just one of them gets your past right. But do you know if he got the past right for everyone who met him? 100 people meet an astrologer and he makes some 100 random predictions. There is enough chance that he gets it right for maybe 5 of them. The other 95 search for other astrologers until they get a match.

If what I say is wrong, then at least some astrology site should have been successful in predicting all things right. By now, they should have been very, very famous. Why are we not hearing about such a site? We have got popular sites for everything. Sites to buy stuff, sell stuff, buy grocery, hire taxi, find matrimonial match, sites for news and so on. All of them are very, very popular and some even successful. But why not an astrology site? Heard of even one fm radio advertisement about them? May be you have a favorite astrology site, but ever thought why no one else is talking about it? Because, they do not get it right for everyone!!

Not a bad attempt, right?

Update 2:

Update 1 gave some empirical evidence against astrology. If you still think your astrologer is the best one, here is another argument for you. Do you know that with the formulae used by the old vedic principles you can't get the position of the planets correctly now? You always used to believe the planets position affects you and the vedic astrology calculates the position, derives panchang and then tells your future. Would you believe that now panchang no more uses the vedic formulae (vakya, surya siddhanta). It is prepared based on ephemeris data published by NASA!! Just google about this stuff and you'll find it yourselves.

Here is a link that explains about vedic cosmic model : http://tovp.org/news/art-architecture-de...sentation/

They did not even know that earth revolves around sun! Even worse, they did not even know the earth was a sphere! You think they can predict your future!! They did not get even get THEIR PRESENT right!! They can predict MY FUTURE??
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#2
Hi Sateesh,

it's very true that astrology is an absolutely inaccurate science, and i am personally of the opinion that it must be abolished by the law in our country. However, it is very easy to understand the reason why people believe in it. When an astrologer first sees a person, he asks a few essential questions, based on the answers to which, he then makes his "predictions". Most people will answer truthfully to all the questions that an astrologer may ask, for example- their date of birth and marital status. based on the answers, the astrologer can make several claims, most of which will have a positive effect on the listener. The astrologer will also use some flowery language which will generally impress the "client" and make him believe in the astrologer's "skills" of prediction. the astrologer essentially tailors his predictions to suit the "client" before him. Unfortunately, Science does not have such tailor made answers. it is fixed in its responses, and a scientist will never be able to tell people what they want to hear. Herein lies the most persistent problem. on the one hand people are aware that they live in a physical environment, however, they also wish to be the centre of that environment. It is this importance that an astrologer gives to a client's narcissistic ego that satisfies the client.

Though it is true that gravity and Space-Time affect our physical structure, it most definitely does not affect our "future". What must be explained to a believer in astrology is that the concept of "time" is man-made, and that there is no "future" or "past" as we believe they exist. there are several famous astrologers such as Bejan Daruwalla, who has his own website http://www.bejandaruwalla.com, where there are pictures of him with Prime Minister Modi, along with the claim that he read his future!!!! such claims will only encourage people to visit such purveyors of falsities because they see famous personalities doing it, and everybody in this country just loves mimicking rich and famous people. Thus, your argument that famous astrology websites do not exist will be easily dismissed by an adherent to such practices. A better method to debunk astrologers will be to ask their clients to provide some wrong information about themselves when they go for their visits to the astrologer. my own aunt is a believer in such practices even though she is educated and even has a degree in psychology! I asked her to visit an astrologer and provide him with some false details, which she surprisingly did, and not surprisingly, she was absolutely unsatisfied with the resultant explanation of her past. Though as you said, she just discounted him as a bad astrologer.

The problem here is a complex one, as most people consider astrologers to be like other professionals such as doctors or lawyers. Incidentally, you can always ask an astrology buff why the practice is never used to solve crimes, or is not admissible in a Court of Law as evidence. That should get them thinking.In a country where astrologers rise to celebrity status and are seen in most movies and television series' as voices of reason, it is not at all surprising that even the educated masses still accept such claims, and also allow these claims to direct their lives. it is indeed a steaming pile of bulls**t.
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