An introduction to my now finally published book
By MARTIN REZNY
Yes, this is a shameless plug, but if I thought the book wasn’t worth reading, I wouldn’t have spent over five years writing it. Let me tell you something about it, so that you may get a better idea if it’s the kind of book that might interest you, specifically. Let’s put a link here first, before I forget:
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Astrology
This is not your typical book about astrology. The author's objective is to clarify and question the main arguments…
You know, I never intended to seriously study something like astrology, or even social science. Very early in high school, I was mainly interested in math and engineering, computer science, those sorts of things. I always had some talent for languages as well, including writing and speech, but that was something I did for fun. I took a look at astrology for fun.
As I have already managed to absorb the standard scientific and skeptical wisdom by then, I simply knew that astrology must be bullshit, as you do. But as I played with it, the more I learned about it, the more sense it made, and the better it worked. I’m a perfectionist, I don’t half-ass anything I do, and I love solving puzzles, so if there’s something to something, I’ll find it.
A lot of what specific astrologers said was indeed wonky at best a lot of the time, but the nice thing about astrology is that you don’t have to take anyone’s word for anything. You can run an endless series of experiments on yourself or your (willing) friends. You’ll never reach full scientific validity that way as the samples will be small, but it’s not nothing.
Over time, I found astrology increasingly reliable for explaining and predicting things in my life, so at a certain point, I felt I should double check why the skeptics are so adamant that astrology is definitely just a “load of rubbish” (a direct quote from a reputable astrophysicist, Brian Cox). There must have been a lot of solid evidence for that, right?
Still in high school, I started by searching “astrologers are charlatans” in Czech. I found an article called “Astrologers, Ufologists, and other Charlatans”, on a serious website about astronomy. At that point, I was already a successful debater, so a title as obviously biased as that was a giant red flag to me. I investigated, and, well, I was shocked.
Shocked at how poorly argued the article was, how not backed it was by actual research or any knowledge about the subject matter that was being criticized. When I tried to reason with the skeptics on that forum, I was personally attacked instead, and eventually, I was starting to feel like a witch being put at a stake of some sort surrounded by a lot of kindling.
That was the first moment when I realized there is some kind of story in this that may need to be told. I didn’t immediately turn it into my personal crusade or anything, but over the following years, I have studied astrology and related research further. This encounter probably did put me on a social science track. I later chose media studies and political science.
At the university, I particularly enjoyed courses about the methodology of social science research. Some time after acquiring that education, I revisited the main studies that allegedly totally disproved astrology, and… To put it diplomatically, they were bad. A combination of not actually testing astrology for the most part, with doing even that very questionably.
To be fair, there isn’t any definitive scientific proof that any aspect of astrology for sure works either, but to also be balanced, there are some studies that indicate there may be something to astrology. Some of which are more solid and harder to question than the main studies mentioned by skeptics. Specifically, Mars Effect studies are more solid than Carlson’s test.
So, what was I to do with this knowledge? Say nothing? I started by compiling a number of articles I have already written over the years in which I was trying to explain how astrology probably actually works, if it works, based on what I was able to reverse engineer through my tinkering. Then, I went out to look for the best evidence for how I’m probably wrong.
I didn’t find a lot of that, (un)fortunately, but what I did find was still somehow surprising to me. I found a lot of genuinely hilarious antics, and not only, or even mostly, on the side of astrologers. Antics that were relevant to the science of it all. Not only is the existing research weak no matter what conclusion you aim to draw, some of the fails are epic.
I can’t promise you that without some semblance of scientific education, you will get all of what I’m saying in the book, but feel free to skip over whichever parts are too dense for you. I guarantee that every reader will be able to learn/laugh about something. I may be harder on skeptics overall (because they should be doing better), but I don’t shy away from putting a spotlight on, how internet would put it, stupid shit astrologers say.
I’m not team astrology OR team science, I’m very against there being teams in/against science. I believe there’s nothing (reasonable) stopping anyone from doing real scientific research in astrology that’s not exclusively designed to debunk it. I believe people shouldn’t be mocked, only bad ideas, and that scientists should be careful not to confuse legitimate criticism with harassment or bullying. What do you believe?
If we’re more or less on the same page, I promise you’ll enjoy the book.