According to a new survey by the National Science Foundation, nearly half of all Americans say astrology, the study of celestial bodies' purported influence on human behavior and worldly events, is either "very scientific" or "sort of scientific."This, once again, calls into sharp focus why we have to have good, grounded science education. While it is quite true that many people will accept something because they simply want to, despite the evidence, a good many people simply don't know better. They also don't have a good grasp on what science is and how it operates. One of the principle sections of my Anthropology 110 class opening lecture is how science is practiced and how to distinguish between hypothesis and theory. I am continually amazed at how many people get those questions wrong.
By contrast, 92 percent of the Chinese public think horoscopes are a bunch of baloney.
What's more alarming, researchers show in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators study, is that American attitudes about science are moving in the wrong direction. Skepticism of astrology hit an all-time high in 2004, when 66 percent of Americans said astrology was total nonsense. But each year, fewer and fewer respondents have dismissed the connections between star alignment and personality as bunk.
On the other hand, as far as the Discovery Institute is concerned, astrology really is science.