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Astrology

Astrology may refer to any of several belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between visible astronomical phenomena and events in the human world. In the West, astrology most commonly means a system of horoscopes that claim to predict aspects of an individual's personality or life history based on the positions of the sun, moon, and planetary objects at the time of their birth. Many other cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and the Indian, Chinese, and Mayan cultures developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations.

Astrology’s origins in Indo-European cultures trace to the third millennium BCE, with roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Throughout most of its history, it was considered a scholarly tradition. It was accepted in political and academic contexts, and its concepts were built into other studies, such as astronomy alchemy and medicine. At the end of the 17th century, new scientific ideas in astronomy - such as heliocentrism - began to damage the credibility of astrology, which subsequently lost its academic and theoretical standing. Astrology saw a popular revival in the 19th and 20th centuries as part of a general improvement of spiritualism, later through New Age philosophy, and then by the influence of mass media such as newspaper horoscopes.

While astrology may bear a superficial resemblance to science, it is a pseudoscience because it makes little attempt to develop solutions to its problems, shows no concern for the evaluation of competing theories, and is selective in considering confirmations and dis-confirmations.

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