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 Have you seen your horoscope today?

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ferval
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PostSubject: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sat 07 Jan 2012, 13:40

In another place I mused as to whether there is any other superstition or belief that has lasted, in a recognisable and codified form, as long as astrology. For 4000 years at least the positions and movements of the heavenly bodies have been consulted to predict the affairs of men and the depiction of the zodiac has remained almost unchanged. We no longer, as far as I know, examine entrails for advice but from the astrologers of the modern East to the horoscope in the morning paper people still take notice of what is alleged to be in store for them and act on it.
Why has this survived in so unchanged a form for so long?
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sat 07 Jan 2012, 16:17

The difference between astrology and astronomy was negligible until comparatively recently. Much of the study and observation of our universe, the groundwork to which modern astronomy owes a debt of gratitude for keeping the discipline running and making the initial important discoveries, was conducted by people who were as inclined to draw astrological conclusions as astronomical ones. Even giants of astronomy, such as Johannes Kepler, earned an income from prognostications based on their observations (800 horoscopes drawn up by Kepler still exist). His prediction for 1595 of a peasant revolt, a Turkish invasion, and extremely cold winter weather - all of which came true - was the basis of his contemporary renown, not his scientific work.

I suspect that in Western Europe at least, under a church which disdained astronomy but employed much astrology in its own internal logic, any serious astronomer had to adopt the guise of an astrologer to pursue his study. And this pattern probably also applied in other great cultures over the millennia.

The psedo-science of astrology, in other words, survived on the back of the actual science of astronomy which - thanks to ignorance on the part of the authorities - was forced to accept this accommodation in order to survive as a discipline. In a weird way then the presence of astrology today is a tribute to the perseverance of people to pursue the truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sat 07 Jan 2012, 16:31

True but I'm particularly intrigued by the survival of the zodiac depictions. The one in the temple at Dendera , or more accurately, the Louvre, or those on the floors of early Judaic synagogues would be immediately recognisable and understandable to almost anyone today. I can't off the top of my head think of any other purely symbolic representation from the time that would be so familiar or require so little explanation to so many people apart from the Christian cross.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sat 07 Jan 2012, 16:38

Jupiter's gone into Orion, and come into conjunction with Mars
Saturn is wheeling across infinite space to it's pre-ordained place in the stars
And I gaze at the planets in wonder
At the trouble and time they spend
All to warn me to be careful
In dealings involving a friend.

Further to Kepler, was it not he who described astrology as the foolish daughter, without whom the wise mother, astronomy, would starve?
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 08 Jan 2012, 16:43

People planted and fished according to the positions of the stars from the earliest of times. The fishing I can understand as presumably fish are affected by the tides and currents which really *are* influenced by the moon. But planting your corn when Venus is rising? Lettuce when Mercury enters Pisces? Some farmers and gardeners still swear by astrology, but I remain full of doubt. That said, most of the slugs in my garden seem to have been born with their Mars in the ascendant. Belligerent little so-and-sos.

I was surprised, ferval, by your mention of Zodiac signs in Jewish synagogues - didn't the Jewish prophets (Isaiah?) rail against the evil of consulting astrologers?

Chaucer and Shakespeare were interested in astrology (wasn't everyone?), but both seem to have been amused by the folly of blaming the stars for the flaws in our nature. The funniest speech about belief in astrology is made by one of Shakespeare's most cynical villains, Edmund in King Lear:

"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeits of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars; as if we were villains on necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars and adulterers by an enforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa major; so that it follows that I am rough and lecherous. Fut! I should have been that I am had the maidenliest star in the firmanent twinkled on my bastardizing."

Which says it all, really!
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 08 Jan 2012, 17:40

Zodiacs (astrological, not Ford) have been found as floor mosaics in half a dozen 6-7th c. Galilean synagogues incorporated into designs showing as well, scenes from the OT and depictions of temple impedimenta, principally the menohra and the shofar.

Here's one of them from Beit Alpha, isn't it wonderful. I can't decide whether I prefer Leo or Virgo.

This is a short piece about this phenomena
http://jhom.com/topics/stones/mosaic.html

I was surprised as well when I was first told about just how decorative the mosaics in these synagogues were; this one from Maon for example although there's no zodiac here.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 22 Jan 2012, 19:27

Temperance - Shakespeare, as usual, said it better than anyone else!

Nothing annoys me more than some soulful idiot gushing over me about 'Capricorn being ascendant in my moon', or something,
and it is undoubtedly the influence of Aries in my posterior quadrant that makes me what (they think) I am today.
Any old goat or ram coming near MY moon will get a swift boot up the jacksie, I can tell you!
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 16:00

@Giraffe wrote:


Nothing annoys me more than some soulful idiot gushing over me about 'Capricorn being ascendant in my moon', or something,
and it is undoubtedly the influence of Aries in my posterior quadrant that makes me what (they think) I am today.
Any old goat or ram coming near MY moon will get a swift boot up the jacksie, I can tell you!



Ferval and I indulged in some light-hearted chatter in the Tumbleweed earlier about star signs - reminded me of this old thread.


I am sure many people agree with the robust comments offered by Giraffe, which I have quoted above; yet has it always been "soulful idiots" who have dabbled in astrology? The "pseudo-science" has had after all, as pointed out by others above, a long and honourable history. Astrology was linked to medicine, as well as to astronomy.


Astrology is frowned upon by most Churches these days, yet, reading some of the earlier posts in this thread, this was not always so: it was astronomy that the Church really feared. Odd. Or perhaps not so odd?


Doctor Dee is a favourite of mine. Elizabeth I consulted him about the best day for her coronation. He recommended 15th January 1559 as being particularly auspicious. Judging by the success of the reign, Dee got it right.


EDIT: Some great pictures here:


http://www.bl.uk/learning/cult/bodies/astrology/gallery/astrogallery.html


This one is from the year after Bosworth: 1486.


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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 17:14

Quote :
Kepler did not view science and spirituality as mutually exclusive.  His comparison of astrology to the 'foolish daughter' of the 'wise mother' (astronomy) has often been cited as evidence of his disbelief in astrology. Seen in context, however, the foolish daughter represents a particular style of astrology — popular astrology. He was always careful to distinguish his reverential vision of the celestial harmonies from the practices of the backstreet astrologers and almanac-makers "who prefer to engage in mad ravings with the uneducated masses"(1). His disapproval stems from his conviction that astrology (done properly, as he did it) is nothing less than a divine revelation, "...a testimony of God's works and... by no means a frivolous thing".
http://ircamera.as.arizona.edu/NatSci102/NatSci102/text/extkeplerast.htm

The belief that 1/12th of mankind can all face exactly the same prospect for the day/week/month ahead is too absurd to be worth debunking, surely?
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 17:48

Well yes ... and no.

It's been statistically shown that children born at the start of winter (births in Nov, Dec, Jan) are, in developmental terms, say at age 6 months, generally behind those that were born in spring (births Mar, Apr, May) when evaluated at 6 months . The difference seems to be becoming less pronouced in the western world, but still seems to be clearly linked to the seasons, in that children born at the onset of winter, when their mothers will have to nurse them on austere winter rations, will be slower to develop in the first few months, than those kiddies born just as all the fat of the land becomes readily available. Generally children all catch up to their "real" age after about 12 months. ... but their basic personaility (possibly formed in the few months after birth?) might well be different.

Of course humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) are a bit atypical as primates (and indeed as mammals generally) in that they mate throughout the year, and then deliver their young almost exactly nine months later, again throughout the year. Most mammals have a season for breeding, usually arranged for the females to give birth in early spring, so as to give mother and offspring the best chances of surviving the event, and to fatten them up a bit before next winter. Some mammals (rabbits and cats, to my certain knowledge) can mate at any time but then can delay pregnancy so that again they give birth at the most promising time (indeed cats can mate several times and so give birth, again almost invariably in spring, to a litter in which the kittens may not all share the same father).

Nearly all other primates: chimps, gorillas, orangs, monkeys, lemurs ... still only come into breeding season at a very specific time of the year ... again timed to give the best chance to the offspring.

I do wonder if humans only started to be able to mate/breed throughout the entire calender year with the development of animal husbandry/plant agriculture, which would have started to aleviate some of the seasonal stress about the whole breeding business. And accordingly does the whole (human) horoscope thing just reflect this. Remember that all wild pigs, for instance, are Pisces, as all are born at almost exactly the same time (ie now).


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 23 Feb 2016, 18:39; edited 8 times in total (Reason for editing : Temp was a bit quick ... I hadn't corrected all my errors)
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 17:50

I'm trying to remember which Douglas Adams book began with the hero talking about his horoscope for the day. He ended up saying that what his horoscope had failed to tell him was the rather important fact that "by 2.00pm today I would be dead."

I think it was a Douglas Adams book.

Casting the horoscope of a monarch was a serious business. Wasn't it a treasonable offence?

I wish I understood the charts. This is the unfortunate Louis XVI's natal chart. Does it contain anything rather worrying? I have no idea.


EDIT: Crossed posts with MM.



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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 20:12

Oh been too busy to look at the horoscope today, Temperance.  It's either feast or famine with the typing and today has been feast.  I did notice on the internet that Yahoo said the current sign was Pisces (my sign as I sallied forth from my mother's womb on St Paddy's Day more years ago than I care to think) and I hadn't realised that - but of course it is late in February now, albeit February is a short month anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 20:53

Not seen mine for months. There again, I don't think we Ariens beleive in horoscopes.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 22:00

@Meles meles wrote:


Nearly all other primates: chimps, gorillas, orangs, monkeys, lemurs ... still only come into breeding season at a very specific time of the year ... again timed to give the best chance to the offspring.

I do wonder if humans only started to be able to mate/breed throughout the entire calender year with the development of animal husbandry/plant agriculture, which would have started to aleviate some of the seasonal stress about the whole breeding business. And accordingly does the whole (human) horoscope thing just reflect this. Remember that all wild pigs, for instance, are Pisces, as all are born at almost exactly the same time (ie now).

It would appear that the ability to breed all year round must have appeared before the hominim line diverged from that of the great apes, MM.

3. The duration of the menstrual cycle varies with species; about 29 days in orang-utans, about 30 days in gorillas and about 37 days in chimpanzees. Incidentally, the duration of oestrus also varies in these species; about 4-6 days in female orang-utans, about 2-3 days in gorillas and about 10-14 days in chimpanzees. Both the menstrual cycle and oestrus vary in duration somewhat among females of the same species. The figures given here are approximations or averages..

Just speculating but it might be that the factors which made this ability to breed all year round advantageous were a mixture of the dietary, exploiting a range of different food resources available at different times throughout the year, and the social, co-operative, family based group structures. Reproductive success, not just in having offspring but in improving their survival chances, it has been suggested is greatly helped by long term pair-bonding, the parents staying together outwith the 'breeding season', so women (and some of the female apes) are not just fertile but (at least theoretically) receptive all year round with predictable results in terms of keeping daddy interested.
Another factor which I suspect would have been important in embedding year-round fertility is the late weaning, high infant mortality and lengthy dependent childhood of higher primates all of which reduce the effective frequency of reproduction so having to wait around for months for the female to become fertile again further reduces the rate of reproduction.


I wonder if the phenomenon you mention, that of early winter babies being initially slower to develop, is also related to more limited  social
contact and reduced exposure to a wider range of experiences during the cold and dark months, not to mention mummy being thoroughly fed up stuck indoors with a screaming wean as it p*sses down outside.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 23 Feb 2016, 23:36

In the year dot, so an eminent prof once told me, fertility cycles were different so that pregnant women gave birth in early spring much as their livestock did. The offspring would thus take to solids at the time when food was plentiful and the mother had had a fruitful autumn time to bulk up reserves. 

As to this topic, no, I don't look up my horoscope - though I have been told that I should have no dealings with Scorpios - nearly my family are Scorpios - especially at half term, they are.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Mon 29 Feb 2016, 16:26

Which star sign is forecast to die on the Titanic?



Leo.

I'll get my coat.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Mon 29 Feb 2016, 18:43

@Triceratops wrote:
Which star sign is forecast to die on the Titanic?



Leo.

I'll get my coat.
Carpri(o)corn(y)
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:11

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Well done, Gil.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sat 05 Mar 2016, 12:30

"Cognitive laziness" describes the tendency we all have to avoid thinking too much at certain times and instead to rely on rather more base mental functionality to "do our thinking for us". It obviously has strong evolutionary roots and still plays a role - in particular circumstances - in our individual survival prospects.

However it also leads at times (probably in fact even more often than when it might actually help us) to an over-reliance on what are these days called "cognitive biases". Psychologists, cognitive scientists and the like compete with each other to identify examples of such bias, all of which however share a common element of being a bias disposed to lead us into making quite incorrect conclusions and erroneous judgements, sometimes indeed when all the data required to avoid this happening was there the whole time had we assessed it, or even had we noticed it at all. Bearing in mind that this is a thread concerning horoscopes, see what you think might be deduced by way of connection between that particular topic and the following selected biases, to which we are all prone, and all of which can be classified as typical cases of "misfiring intelligence" (or even non-intelligence in some cases).

That astrologists might consciously exploit our disposition to accommodate most, if not all, of these biases seems rather obvious to me. Though I reckon it's also worth bearing in mind all those others who might not be so averse to such exploitation, especially when attempting to influence what we believe to be fact - including of course those who proselytise a religious belief;




Behavioural biases alphabetically;

Ambiguity effect: The tendency to avoid options for which missing information makes the probability seem "unknown".

Availability cascade: A self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse (or "repeat something long enough and it will become true").

Backfire effect: When people react to disconfirming evidence by strengthening their beliefs.

Bandwagon effect : The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same.

Base rate fallacy or Base rate neglect: The tendency to ignore base rate information (generic, general information) and focus on specific information (information only pertaining to a certain case).

Belief bias: An effect where someone's evaluation of the logical strength of an argument is biased by the believability of the conclusion.

Clustering illusion: The tendency to overestimate the importance of small similarities, streaks, or clusters in large samples of random data (that is, seeing phantom patterns).

Confirmation bias: The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.

Congruence bias: The tendency to test hypotheses exclusively through direct testing, instead of testing possible alternative hypotheses.

Conjunction fallacy: The tendency to assume that specific conditions are more probable than general ones.

Conservatism (Bayesian): The tendency to revise one's belief insufficiently when presented with new evidence.

Distinction bias: The tendency to view two options as more dissimilar when evaluating them simultaneously than when evaluating them separately.

Essentialism: Categorizing people and things according to their essential nature, in spite of variations.

Exaggerated expectation: Based on the estimates, real-world evidence turns out to be less extreme than our expectations (conditionally inverse of the conservatism bias).

Focusing effect: The tendency to place too much importance on one aspect of an event.

Forer effect or Barnum effect : The observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some beliefs and practices, such as astrology, fortune telling, graphology, and some types of personality tests.

Framing effect: Drawing different conclusions from the same information, depending on how that information is presented.

Hindsight bias: Sometimes called the "I-knew-it-all-along" effect, the tendency to see past events as being predictable at the time those events happened.

Illusion of control: The tendency to overestimate one's degree of influence over other external events.

Illusion of validity: Belief that furtherly acquired information generates additional relevant data for predictions, even when it evidently does not.

Illusory correlation: Inaccurately perceiving a relationship between two unrelated events.

Information bias: The tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action.

Mere exposure effect: The tendency to express undue liking for things merely because of familiarity with them.

Negativity bias: Psychological phenomenon by which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories compared with positive memories, or a greater belief in a negative self-image than a positive one.

Observer-expectancy effect: When a researcher expects a given result and therefore unconsciously manipulates an experiment or misinterprets data in order to find it.

Pareidolia: A vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) is perceived as significant, e.g., seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing non-existent hidden messages on records played in reverse.

Reactive devaluation: Devaluing proposals only because they purportedly originated with an adversary.

Selective perception: The tendency for expectations to affect perception.

Semmelweis reflex: The tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts a paradigm.

Stereotyping: Expecting a member of a group to have certain characteristics without having actual information about that individual.

Subjective validation: Perception that something is true if a subject's belief demands it to be true. Also assigns perceived connections between coincidences.

Third-person effect: Belief that that mass communicated media messages have a greater effect on others than on themselves.

Weber–Fechner law: Difficulty in comparing small differences in large quantities.

Zero-sum heuristic: Intuitively judging a situation to be zero-sum (i.e., that gains and losses are correlated). Derives from the zero-sum game in game theory, where wins and losses sum to zero. The frequency with which this bias occurs may be related to the social dominance orientation personality factor.



Social biases alphabetically;

Actor–observer bias: The tendency for explanations of other individuals' behaviors to overemphasize the influence of their personality and underemphasize the influence of their situation (see also Fundamental attribution error), and for explanations of one's own behaviors to do the opposite (that is, to overemphasize the influence of our situation and underemphasize the influence of our own personality).

False consensus effect: The tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them.

Fundamental attribution error : The tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior (see also actor-observer bias, group attribution error, positivity effect, and negativity effect).

Group attribution error: The biased belief that the characteristics of an individual group member are reflective of the group as a whole or the tendency to assume that group decision outcomes reflect the preferences of group members, even when information is available that clearly suggests otherwise.

Illusion of external agency: When people view self-generated preferences as instead being caused by insightful, effective and benevolent agents.

Illusion of transparency : People overestimate others' ability to know them, and they also overestimate their ability to know others.

Just-world hypothesis: The tendency for people to want to believe that the world is fundamentally just, causing them to rationalize an otherwise inexplicable injustice as deserved by the victim(s).

Moral luck: The tendency for people to ascribe greater or lesser moral standing based on the outcome of an event.

Naïve realism: The belief that we see reality as it really is – objectively and without bias; that the facts are plain for all to see; that rational people will agree with us; and that those who don't are either uninformed, lazy, irrational, or biased.

Shared information bias: Known as the tendency for group members to spend more time and energy discussing information that all members are already familiar with (i.e., shared information), and less time and energy discussing information that only some members are aware of (i.e., unshared information).

System justification: The tendency to defend and bolster the status quo. Existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged, sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest.

Ultimate attribution error: Similar to the fundamental attribution error, in this error a person is likely to make an internal attribution to an entire group instead of the individuals within the group.



Memory biases alphabetically;

Bizarreness effect: Bizarre material is better remembered than common material.

Choice-supportive bias: In a self-justifying manner retroactively ascribing one's choices to be more informed than they were when they were made.

Conservatism or Regressive bias: Tendency to remember high values and high likelihoods/probabilities/frequencies as lower than they actually were and low ones as higher than they actually were.

Consistency bias: Incorrectly remembering one's past attitudes and behaviour as resembling present attitudes and behaviour.

Illusion of truth effect: That people are more likely to identify as true statements those they have previously heard (even if they cannot consciously remember having heard them), regardless of the actual validity of the statement. In other words, a person is more likely to believe a familiar statement than an unfamiliar one.

Suggestibility: A form of misattribution where ideas suggested by another person or source are mistaken for personal memory.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 06 Mar 2016, 15:08

Oh, rhubarb, nordmann.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 06 Mar 2016, 15:55

Don't know why you always have to be so censorious of us lesser mortals; reading horoscopes is only a bit of (harmless) fun.

My horoscope for today said I would be pretty fed up - moon running rings round Pluto or something - and I am.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 06 Mar 2016, 16:28

Temp wrote:
Don't know why you always have to be so censorious of us lesser mortals;

A Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE) of almost classic dimensions, with enough Confirmation Bias thrown in to demonstrate conclusively that you probably never will actually see how totally non-censorious my above post was!

Check against this:

Fundamental attribution error (FAE) Also known as the correspondence bias (Baumeister & Bushman, 2010) is the tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviours observed in others. At the same time, individuals under-emphasize the role and power of situational influences on the same behaviour. Jones and Harris’ (1967) classic study illustrates the FAE. Despite being made aware that the target’s speech direction (pro-Castro/anti-Castro) was assigned to the writer, participants ignored the situational pressures and attributed pro-Castro attitudes to the writer when the speech represented such attitudes.

Confirmation bias The tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions. In addition, individuals may discredit information that does not support their views. The confirmation bias is related to the concept of cognitive dissonance. Whereby, individuals may reduce inconsistency by searching for information which re-confirms their views (Jermias, 2001, p. 146)
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 06 Mar 2016, 16:30

Are you a robot, nordmann?
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Sun 06 Mar 2016, 16:30

No, just relatively sober. I'll fix that later.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 03 Jan 2017, 13:26

Did anyone witness the (Northern Hemisphere) sky last night? The Moon in waxing crescent, Venus as Evening Star and Mars all in close proximity to one another and very bright. Just spectacular.
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PostSubject: Re: Have you seen your horoscope today?   Tue 03 Jan 2017, 14:06

Yes I did ... and here it was a crystal clear night, although rather chilly, but it was quite spectacular ... although I'll admit I wasn't entirely sure what I was looking at. There's not much light pollution here and I'd already turned off all the house lights, ... I was only awakened 'cos the dog got wanted to go outside. So it was late, about 1am I think, but the whole Milky Way was very clear too, and then there were also couple of shooting stars as a bonus.  No aurora borealis though ... I'm too far south and there's a hill that rather blocks the horizon to the north.
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Have you seen your horoscope today?

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Res Historica History Forum :: The history of ideas ... :: Religion and superstition-