Objections to Astrology

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quel che segue è il testo originale del manifesto antiastrologico apparso nel numero di settembre/ottobre 1975 della rivista “The Humanist” e sottoscritto da 186 scienziati autorevoli, 18 dei quali insigniti del premio Nobel. Dopo averlo letto mi sono domandato che necessità avessero gli scienziati di raccogliere 186 firme per cercare di convincere la gente della loro opinione personale ricorrendo al principio di autorità, quando sarebbe bastato menzionare una sola semplice prova che dimostrasse la non validità delle asserzioni astrologiche per chiudere definitivamente il discorso, come osservò acutamente il filosofo della scienza Paul Karl Feyerabend nel suo commento allo Statement

Objections to Astrology

A STATEMENT BY 186 LEADING SCIENTISTS

Scientists in a variety of fields have become concerned about the increased acceptance of astrology in many parts of the world. We, the undersigned – astronomers, astrophysicists, and scientists in other fields – wish to caution the public against the unquestioning acceptance of the predictions and advice given privately and publicly by astrologers. Those who wish to believe in astrology should realize that there is no scientific foundation for its tenets.
In ancient times people believed in the predictions and advice of astrologers because astrology was a part and parcel of their magical world view. They looked upon celestial objects as a bodes or omens of the Gods and, thus, intimately connected with events here on earth; they had no concept of vast distances from the earth to the planets and stars. Now that these distances can and have been calculated, we can see how infinitesimally small are the gravitational and other effects produced by the distant planets and the far more distant stars. It is simply a mistake to imagine that the forces exerted by stars and planets at the moment of birth can in any way shape our futures. Neither is it true that the position of distant heavenly bodies make certain days or periods more favorable to particular kind of action, or that the sign under which one was born determines one’s compatibility or incompatibility with other people.
Why do people believe in astrology? In these uncertain times many long for the comfort of having guidance in making decisions. They would like to believe in a destiny predetermined by astral forces beyond their control. However, we must all face the world, and we must realize that our futures lie in ourselves, and not in the stars.
One would imagine, in this day of widespread enlightenment and education, that it would be unnecessary to debunk beliefs based on magic and superstition. Yet, acceptance of astrology pervades modern society. We are especially disturbed by continued uncritical dissemination of astrological charts, forecasts, and horoscopes by the media and by otherwise reputable newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. This can only contributes to the growth of irrationalism and obscurantism. We believe that the time has come to challenge directly, and forcefully, the pretentious claims of astrological charlatans.
It should be apparent that those individuals who continue to have faith in astrology do so in spite of the fact that there is no verified scientific basis for their beliefs, and indeed that there is strong evidence to the contrary.

Bart J. Bok, emeritus professor of astronomy, University of Arizona
Lawrence E. Jerome, science writer, Santa Clara, California.
Paul Kurts, professor of philosophy, SUNI at Buffalo.

NOBEL PRIZEWINNERS

Hans A. Bethe, professor emeritus of physics, Cornell
Sir Francis Crick, Medical Research Council, Cambridge, England
Sir John Eccles, distinguished professor of physiology and biophysics, SUNY at Buffalo
Gerhard Herzberg, distinguished research scientist. National Research Council of Canada
Wassily Leontief, professor of economics, Harvard University
Konrad Lorenz, univ. prof., Austrian Academy of Sciences
André M. Lwoff, honorary professor, Institute Pasteur, Paris
Sir Peter Medawar, Medical Research Council, Middlesex, Eng.
Robert S. Mulliken, dist. prof. of chemistry, U. of Chicago
Linus C. Pauling, professor of chemistry, Stanford University
Edward M. Purcell, Gerhard Gade univ. prof. Harvard Univ.
Paul A. Samuelson, professor of economics, MIT
Julian Schwinger, professor of physics, U. of Calif., Los Angeles
Glenn T. Seaborg, univ. professor, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley
J. Tinbergen, professor emeritus, Rotterdam
N. Tinbergen, emer. professor of animal behavior, Oxford Univ.
Harold C. Urey, professor emeritus, Univ. of Calif., San Diego
George Wald, professor of biology, Harvard University

[Seguono le firme dei restanti “scienziati autorevoli” sottoscrittori del manifesto, la cui lista completa è contenuta nelle riproduzioni delle pagine riportate in basso, per consentire a chi lo desideri di verificare da sé la presenza o meno tra i firmatari del suo scienziato preferito]

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