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[alt.astrology] Debating astrology


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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>

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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>


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