My attempts to have a rational conversation with my right-wing acquaintance the other night failed utterly, of course, running inevitably into the glazed stare of the True Believer. The Wall Street Journal reviewed a new book, Debunked, which is a similarly futile attempt to bring some rationality to conversations about the paranormal — trying to explain that probability, for instance, virtually requires events of the sort people think of as “psychic.”
It also mentions an interesting twist to the astrology “debate” I’d never considered:
By considering the cumulative wobbles in the dynamics of the solar system, [the authors] show that astrology has lost track of where the Earth is in relation to the other heavenly bodies. If being born at the end of July made you a Leo 2,000 years ago, it should make you a Cancer today. But the astrological charts have not changed in that time.
Not that actual science will have any effect on the true believers, but I’d never heard that point mentioned before. I don’t know enough cosmology to confirm it but it certainly makes sense.