Aug 26, 2006

planetary definition has astrologists in a tizzy

When the Pluto-might-not-be-a-planet story first broke, I blithely wrote, "Astrologers, working with only seven planets for the last few centuries, largely have ignored the controversy."

I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.
"Whether he's a planet, an asteroid, or a radioactive matzo ball, Pluto has proven himself worthy of a permanent place in all horoscopes," says Shelley Ackerman, columnist for the spirituality Web site Ackerman criticized the IAU for not including astrologers in its decision [emphasis added].
I'm sure they would have been let in if Michael Behe were in charge of the guest list.

But wait. There's more.
Francis and many other minor-planet enthusiasts are interested in raising awareness about Charon and the new dwarf planets, Ceres and UB313, in part because they consider them female planets symbolizing a rush of new maternal energy into the cosmos.

"Most of our clients are women, and we need stories women can relate to," Francis says.

A planet's gender is determined largely by the name given to it by astronomers [emphasis added].
In other words, there is no good reason to suppose that a planet's gender has any spiritual or cosmic meaning. But don't let that stop you from wild-ass speculations in the guise of ancient wisdom. astrologer Michael Wolfstar suggests that the asteroid Ceres is a humanitarian, compassionate force "associated with relief operations, the food industry and parent-child relationships." According to the site, Ceres is currently pushing for "the return of refugees to southern Lebanon" and "reforms in the organic-milk industry."
You can't make this stuff up.
Michael Lutin, columnist for Vanity Fair, says he will consider the newcomers. But he notes that they aren't likely to have massive impact on our personal lives because of their location in at the outer reaches of the solar system: "UB313 is never going to tell you whether Wednesday is good for romance."
Nope. You need a charlatan with a star chart for that.

Sidebar: You think astrology is marginal hokum? Think again. According to the article, nearly one in three Americans believe in astrology, a $200 million-per-annum industry employing more than ten thousand full-time starry-eyed fools.

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