In Print again...

This time, in a letter to the editor on a subject I care about a lot.

The article that raised my ire was this one.

My response was published here.

However, I was in a pretty acrid mood that night, so they edited my work fairly heavily.

This is my original response, with a "1.00 am grammar" mistake fixed, but otherwise verbatim.

Your September 26, opinion column “Life is really not in the stars” by Astronomer Daniel B. Caton is a classic example of an expert holding forth about something entirely out of the realm of his expertise.

Asking an astronomer for an astrological opinion is like asking a lab technician for a medical opinion. He might know something, but chances are he doesn’t. To carry the allegory one step further, this “technician” would say all doctors are charlatans because he met a charlatan who called himself a doctor.

While astrology relies upon good astronomy for accurate results, the reverse is not the case. An astronomer knows nothing about astrology unless he or she has taken a separate course of study.

It is clear that Caton has taken no such study. His cheap shot anecdote about an illusionist writing astrology columns in ignorance, and Caton’s own irrelevant and insignificant, “experiments” with his students do not qualify as study.

They do, together, qualify as pseudoscientific piffle.

There are charlatans everywhere. Some of them write poor or misleading astrology columns. Others opine about things they know nothing about.

Rodney Smith

1 comment:

Kate said...

Rod, I see yours was not the only letter pointing out that Caton didn't know what he ws talking about. Someone else took offense, too.

I have to say I don't take the newspaper astrological columns very seriously. They are, after all, based solely on one's sun sign and, as I have learned from klnowledgable people like yourself, there is so much more to it than that. I find the subject fascinating while, at the same time, kind of frustrating to the layman. So, please, don't be irritated by the following question:

Since this discussion started because Pluto had been "demoted" from being a planet, I want to know if that has absolutely any repercussions on your astrological computations. It doesn't seem like it would, but maybe I'm not seeing something. Could you speak to this, please?