The letter 'r' is significant

The Bad Astronomer has put up a page to de-bunk astrology. I had a rant some time ago on the subject of astrology and Phil Plait brings up some of the same points. Ultimately, it is very difficult to have a logical discussion with an astrologer or someone who believes in astrology.

A month or so ago while going home on the train, I overheard a girl extolling the accuracy of a certain newspaper's horoscopes to her friend. She then went on to say that she had once been told that she would marry someone with the letter 'r' in their name. At that point I couldn't help myself and commented that plenty of people have the letter 'r' in their name; George Bush, Tony Blair, most of the cabinet and me. The point is that if you take somebody's name (they usually have at least two names) you probably have more than ten letters - more than a third of the alphabet. Now combine that with the fact that some letters are more common than others, and you will find a significant percentage of people have the letter 'r' in their name (I might work it out on a large sample if I get bored). The trouble is, she seemed to be making decisions about her relationships based on the existence (or lack) of the letter 'r'. This seems to happen a lot.

The same people also tend to have a deep suspicion of science in general which is rather worrying. Science is not a religion or belief system, it is a method of checking ideas by subjecting them to experiments. So the anti-scientists are right to be sceptical, perhaps they should direct some of that scepticisim towards the pseudo-scientists.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 05th Apr 2005 (10:39 UTC) | Permalink
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