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Subject: [alt.astrology] Debating astrology

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:47 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: astrology
All FAQs posted in: alt.astrology
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: astrology/debating Posting-Frequency: monthly to alt.astrology Last-modified: 2004/10/31 Version: 1.2 URL: http://mandrake.polarhome.com/~astrofaq/debating/ Copyright: (c) 2001-2004 Sherilyn <sherilyn@bluebottle.com> Maintainer: Sherilyn <sherilyn@bluebottle.com>
A common occurrence on alt.astrology is a debate about some purported feature of astrology. Sometimes both skeptics and astrologers will join in. This FAQ is to help skeptics and astrologers to get on the same wavelength prior to the debate. Sorry, it can't help to make you a better or more effective debater, but it will help you (particularly astrologers) to avoid the major pra^H^Hitfalls. QUESTIONS 1. Why do we need this FAQ? 2. Okay, why do *I* need this FAQ? 3. General rules for skeptics 4. General rules for astrologers 5. General rules for everybody 1. Why do we need this FAQ? We need this because debating is not an innate skill, and because USENET is not an ideal medium for debate. 2. Why do *I* need this FAQ? Maybe you don't. Read it and see. 3. General rules for skeptics. a. Expect astrologers to speculate as to how your character is a reflection of your birth data. If you want to give your birth data, fine. If you don't, politely refuse. It will tend to be used in, er, unusual ways. :) b. Try not to respond to insults--there are usually a number of resident trolls who try to encourage a rowdy atmosphere. 4. General rules for astrologers. a. If you're aware that you're making a statement as to the relationship between the movements of the planets and human affairs, it's probably wise to say so--a subsequent denial can look bad. b. If you're aware that you're making such a statement but believe it to be outside the consensus of working astrologers, it's probably wise to say so. c. If you're aware that you're speculating about any such relationship, it's probably wise to point this out. d. Unless backed by replicated scientific tests, any astrological claim is _de facto_ an extraordinary claim, so avoid appealing to anecdotes. If you make an extraordinary claim that turns out to be backed only by anecdote, or by the incredible disappearing "thousands/hundreds of years of research", or that it's verified every day by thousands of astrologers around the world don't be surprised if a skeptic points out that the extraordinary claim is thus debunked for lack of evidence. 5. General rules for everybody a. Do play nicely. Avoid ad hominem attacks, temper tantrums, and other unseemly outbursts. Remember, calling people nasty names does not help your argument. b. Check out the Posting FAQ for general advice. http://www.faqs.org/faqs/astrology/posting/ -- Sherilyn <sherilyn@bluebottle.com>