Team-BHP > Shifting gears


View Poll Results: Do you believe in
Astrology 57 28.36%
Numerology 14 6.97%
Tarot 8 3.98%
None. 140 69.65%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 201. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 23rd September 2018, 11:43   #181
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Default Re: Do you believe in Astrology, Tarot, Numerology?

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Originally Posted by AMG Power View Post
By the same logic being used in arguments in this thread and as gravity wasnt scientifically proven till 1686, the folks living prior to 1686 would have been "scientifically" right in bringing forth the arguments used in this thread as to the non existence of gravity - it just wasn't proven yet. Trying to understand its existence is not the same - one either has scientific proof of gravity or one does not.
There was empirical evidence that gravity existed. Even animals know it and experience it. Newton proved that was a kind of force and gave mathematical formula for calculating it.


Astrology has no empirical evidence.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 11:49   #182
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Astrology has no empirical evidence.
Correct. It has only anecdotal evidence.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 11:55   #183
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Default Re: Do you believe in Astrology, Tarot, Numerology?

Amazing how a dormant thread wakes up after half a decade and we suddenly have half a dozen pages of passionately argued posts. That’s the beauty of social media.

The way I see it, belief in systems such as religion and astrology (and technical analysis, since some folks brought that up) is part of what makes us human. Why? The human brain is nothing but an incredibly complex pattern recognition machine. But it is by no means a perfect machine - if it were merely that, we would not have progressed from being a pack hunting animal in the Savannah (similar to hyenas) to a position where everyone of us has a Super computer in our hands which we are using to debate astrology. Another characteristic of the human brain is the remarkable ability to believe in fictions, to find evidence to back those fictions, and to sacrifice the ability to pass on its genes for the sake of those fictions (read Yuval Noah Harari’s books for more). What this ability to believe in fictions gives us is the ability to coordinate across much larger groups than any other creature - and its this ability to turn the brains of thousands or millions of humans into a massively parallel processing system which has got us to a stage where a 200,000 year old ape species has left a permanent geological signature on the surface of a 4.5 billion year old planet.

So it does not matter whether astrology or religion are true or false - all that matters is that enough people believe in it, and it becomes a tool for coordinating their actions. Hence if I were investing in real estate in India, I would look for a Vastu compliant property (which is not on the 13th floor) because I know it will be much more liquid when I want to exit my investment. While we all know that technical analysis is bullshit if you have a Buffettian investment horizon, every short term trader or even mutual fund manager I know studies it carefully - because technicals affect near term stock movements - and can affect whether you are going to remain employed to benefit from long term trends. And respecting astrology and the religious sentiments of others is a very useful tool for maintaining a positive group psychology in any team activity - and let me assure you that positive psychology affects real business or team sport results far more than just objectively measured skill. So yes, even though I work in a large multinational, we carry out Satyanarayan Pujas in our offices, and respect the sentiments of our clients who want to avoid filing offering circulars during Shraadh for example.

Last edited by Hayek : 23rd September 2018 at 12:00.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 11:59   #184
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Default Re: Do you believe in Astrology, Tarot, Numerology?

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By the same logic being used in arguments in this thread and as gravity wasnt scientifically proven till 1686
Gravity had evidence prior to 1686. Astrology doesn't have evidence until now. See the difference? Empirical evidence is enough.

Last edited by Samurai : 23rd September 2018 at 12:02.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 12:40   #185
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Gravity had evidence prior to 1686. Astrology doesn't have evidence until now. See the difference? Empirical evidence is enough.
Empirical evidence is not the same as scientific proof. In fact empiricists are accepted as having the exactly opposite belief systems of rationalists / scientists. Having empirical evidence but still not being able to prove the existence till 1686 brings out the limitations of science as understood / practiced with human intelligence. Not everything that exists has been proven with human intelligence / science as we know it and in its absence one can be "scientifically" correct as the folks back in 1686 that something that has proof exists and something that is not yet proven does not exist.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 12:59   #186
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Default Re: Do you believe in Astrology, Tarot, Numerology?

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Amazing how a dormant thread wakes up after half a decade ......SNIP..... and respect the sentiments of our clients who want to avoid filing offering circulars during Shraadh for example.
Spoken like a true Hayek if I may say so. Thank you for your balanced and mature post on the need to accept beliefs that are not ours. Many bodies of human knowledge are not science and they still have a lot of value for humankind and making society work - religion, spirituality, economics (sorry Friedrich Hayek), sociology, parts of history, literature and I dare say astrology. Nor does modern man know everything about ancient bodies of knowledge enshrined in our shastras. Long live astrology even though I do not follow it at all. It works well for my life partner and gives her a lot of reassurance and that works.

On a separate subject though related concept. When some friends get into a debate on spirituality & religion, I simply say you can't measure the depth of the ocean with an alarm clock.

PS: I do not visit astrologers. Period. But, like others, I did hold the hand of many a girl in my youth pretending to know palmistry.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 13:15   #187
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Default Re: Do you believe in Astrology, Tarot, Numerology?

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The way I see it, belief in systems such as religion and astrology (and technical analysis, since some folks brought that up) is part of what makes us human. Why? The human brain is nothing but an incredibly complex pattern recognition machine. While we all know that technical analysis is bullshit if you have a Buffettian investment horizon, every short term trader or even mutual fund manager I know studies it carefully - because technicals affect near term stock movements - and can affect whether you are going to remain employed to benefit from long term trends.
Right. Technical analysis has been widely discredited. Statistical studies on technical analysis usually show no significant performance advantage over other methods. BUT, there are lakhs of technical analysis traders who are millionaires. I don't think mutual fund managers look at technical patterns, but some hedge funds do.


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Many bodies of human knowledge are not science and they still have a lot of value for humankind and making society work - religion, spirituality, economics (sorry Friedrich Hayek), sociology, parts of history, literature and I dare say astrology.
Economics and sociology are classified as "SOCIAL SCIENCE" - study of interaction between humans and their actions.

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But, like others, I did hold the hand of many a girl in my youth pretending to know palmistry.
Interesting. My wife read my palm on our first meeting. She was a bit disappointed looking at some of the lines though.

Last edited by SmartCat : 23rd September 2018 at 13:18.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 15:44   #188
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Like five blind men and the elephant, where parties want to advocate whether to prove something is rational / irrational is based on "science" or "faith", will never to come to any conclusion. As much as faith based beliefs are refuted by "believers in science", the question of whether the current scientific methods are enough to explain all the events in the known universe will always persist. Historically, science has contradicted itself umpteen number of times. So depending on science to explain everything is at best very limiting in its scope.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 17:19   #189
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Default Re: Do you believe in Astrology, Tarot, Numerology?

The correct analogy for scientific reasoning in astrology is:

A blind man in a dark room, who is looking for a black cat that isn't there.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 17:59   #190
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A blind man in a dark room, who is looking for a black cat that isn't there.
But astrologers regularly find that non-existing cat.
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So it does not matter whether astrology or religion are true or false - all that matters is that enough people believe in it, and it becomes a tool for coordinating their actions. Hence if I were investing in real estate in India, I would look for a Vastu compliant property (which is not on the 13th floor) because I know it will be much more liquid when I want to exit my investment.
You are addressing a very different aspect. You are pondering whether submitting to pseudoscience is practical some times. We both know that the answer is YES. I have personally burnt my finger on this. I bought a site back in 2004. I got a nice location for good price because it was west facing. I bought it because I figured I am not handicapped by superstition. However when I tried to sell it, it was a nightmare since every buyer wanted a east facing site. Finally I had to sell it for a low price. The moral of the story is, if you are the minority, you are still bound by the beliefs of the majority. Yes, my office holds ayudha puja every year because most of my employees believe in it. And I do get invited to many pujas, where I go through the motion of bowing, taking blessings, etc., in order not to offend people. That's the practical aspect of living in India. It has nothing to do with the question we are addressing in the thread.

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Empirical evidence is not the same as scientific proof. In fact empiricists are accepted as having the exactly opposite belief systems of rationalists / scientists. Having empirical evidence but still not being able to prove the existence till 1686 brings out the limitations of science as understood / practiced with human intelligence.
You are confusing many things here. Let me explain the differences between anecdotal, empirical and scientific.

If you ask what is the foundation depth required for a single floor house:
1) A structural engineer: He may say 4ft, after using the formula. (science)
2) An illiterate mason who has built many houses: He may say 4ft, by prior experience. (empirical)
3) Katrina Kaif: She may say 4ft (lucky guess). (anecdotal)

All 3 could give the same answer based on different reasons. Now if you ask the same the question, but for a 10 floor, answers can be different. The engineer will still have the right answer, the mason may or may not have the right answer depending on whether he has prior experience of multi-storied buildings. Katrina will continue to guess.

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Most of the traditional medicine practiced (ayurveda/Unani) are based on empirical evidence developed over a millennium or more. Many of them work under controlled test, and get proven by science eventually. But some turn out to be nonsense. The medicinal quality of neem or turmeric was empirical evidence, was proven to be true even by science. Whenever empiric data gets proved by science, it become scientific knowledge.

The idea that earth was flat or sun went around the earth was accepted for a long time based on empirical evidence. But was disproved later based on scientific evidence.

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Like five blind men and the elephant, where parties want to advocate whether to prove something is rational / irrational is based on "science" or "faith", will never to come to any conclusion. As much as faith based beliefs are refuted by "believers in science", the question of whether the current scientific methods are enough to explain all the events in the known universe will always persist. Historically, science has contradicted itself umpteen number of times. So depending on science to explain everything is at best very limiting in its scope.
These are very common arguments made by people who do not understand the rules of science, not to be confused with laws of science. Yes, laws of science are continuously revised and corrected. Scientists are actually required do that, according to the rules of science laid down way back in 11th century by a brown muslim scientist from African continent. Yup, the rules of science were not formalized by a white scientist from the western world. Rules of science have never changed in 1000 years.

Last edited by Samurai : 23rd September 2018 at 18:11.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 18:03   #191
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A blind man in a dark room, who is looking for a black cat that isn't there.
Wouldn't make a difference to a blind man if the room is dark or the cat is black. It would have the same effect it was broad daylight and the cat had psychedelic colours.

A blind man wouldn't "look" - he would feel, grope, bump and bang into things much like scientists do with anything that they cannot prove.

So yes, the above analogy is remarkably accurate.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 18:17   #192
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But astrologers regularly find that non-existing cat.
Maybe it is a Schrödinger's cat

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the rules of science laid down way back in 11th century by a brown muslim scientist from African continent.
Interested to know who was that?
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Old 23rd September 2018, 18:26   #193
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All 3 could give the same answer based on different reasons.
Let's use your analogy and replace the structural engineer with a scientist, the mason with a lab technician and Katrina Kaif remains the same for this discussion. But we'll also introduce Salman Khan.

The year is 1685.

For the existence of gravity, this would have been the answers:

(a) Scientist - Gravity does NOT exist. It hasn't been proven yet.

(b) Lab Technician - Maybe, I seem to get a feeling occasionally.

(c) Katrina Kaif - Of course, I feel it whenever I jump of a building along with Salman Khan for those action scenes.

Guess you get the picture? (No pun intended )
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Old 23rd September 2018, 19:56   #194
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Interested to know who was that?
I think it might be Alzahen. He was probably one of the earliest to insist and rely on experimentation to prove theories. He used this method extensively while writing his book on optics. Remember reading about him long time back. Sorry if my guess is incorrect.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 20:49   #195
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For me, science is the illumination which enlightens the previously dark parts. A poster above consistently claims 'for scientists, gravity didn't exist till 1700s'. It's really laughable, because no one claimed so. We started understanding gravity after 1700s, but it didn't start in that year. Till that year, I am sure all kinds of psuedo science such as a God holding up everyone, or even the tortoise that balanced the world were the 'proved' analogies.

Much of our old literature is filled with make shift stories which are feeble attempt of making natural phenomenon relatable. Unfortunately the motives were at times sinister, to control the population and to concentrate the power in the hands of a selected few. I think the prudent thing is to make the old beliefs undergo thorough tests, and be accepted if proven, and be thrown out if not.
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