Astrology can’t predict future

8 April 2014 04:23 am - 51     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Whether astrology can predict future has been a question that many sensible people have been asking over millennia. An interesting discussion on this topic over the weekend saw a leading astrologer in the country declaring that astrology can no way predict the future of a person.

Following is an article based on the discussion.

By Pubudu sumanasekara

Though dismissed by Buddhism, Christianity and Islam as irrational, the belief that there’s a correlation between astronomical phenomena and life on earth, has ruled the sensibilities of the vulnerable sections in society over the years.

The past few years have seen an unprecedented upward swell in the demand for astrological predictions in Sri Lanka.  It has been observed that tens and thousands of new comers had joined the thriving industry with very little subject knowledge. The media is regularly splashed with stories as to how the gullible fall prey to the most preposterous as well as the manipulative among the astrologers.

At a time when there’s hardly a civil society effort to shed light into the unfolding catastrophe, ‘The Colombo Forum’ with Mrs. Nalini Ellawala as its chair, ventured to open a thought- provoking discussion on the topic over the weekend.

Moderated by Executive Director of Mel-Medura and lecturer in Applied Sciences at the Rajarata University, Dr. Manoj Fernando, the forum held at Mel-Medura, Horton Place had the participation from a cross section of professionals.

One may say that it certainly was quite paradoxical to hear a leading astrologer in the country declaring in his opening remarks that it is totally unscientific and un-astrological to predict one’s future with astrology.

However this is exactly what top astrologer and self-learnt hypnotherapist Indika Thotawatte did at the very outset of his presentation.

Explaining astrology through a wide array of subjects ranging from quantum physics to Greek philosophy and Bertrand Russell to Osho, the visually handicapped young astrologer also fielded questions from the learned audience with the aplomb of a senior pro.

The crux of the presentation by Thotawatte was that astrology in general and horoscope in particular, is a list of possibilities. There’s a chance of even almost of all of these possibilities predicted proving wrong if supportive factors would not come together.

For example, if two babies were born at the same time and both their horoscopes indicated a possibility of them becoming scientists, there’s still a chance of neither of them making it if other contributory factors like a conducive family and school environment were not there.

On the other hand, another, who was given a horoscope with very slim possibilities in the academic field, may even end up becoming a professor, if the other factors like parental support and helpful friends and teachers, come together strongly.

Thotawatte also said that astrology can never tell the gender of a baby based on birth time. “It’s a total distortion of core principles of the subject to reject the birth time of a new born saying that the gender does not go with the time of birth,” he declared.

“It’s pathetic that some immature astrologers get parents to shift the time of birth of their babies back and forth, claiming that the gender of child does not go with gender of the birth time and come up with a total irrelevant horoscope for the new born” said Thotawatte.

“There’s absolutely no gender in seconds, minutes or hours. Given any minute tens of thousands of babies belonging to both genders are born across the world. How can anybody with common sense set aside some minutes for boys and the rest for girls?” he queried.

Poor subject knowledge among practitioners and heavy commercialization, Thotawatta thinks, have ruined the image of astrology as a science.

“It has taken such a criminal turn that you have some astrologers deciding on the price for preparing auspicious verses (sethkavi) for the sick depending on the criticality of the patient. If the patient is in a normal hospital ward the charge is Rs.5,000, if he is in the ICU it would skyrocket to Rs.20,000” lamented Thotawatte.

He also took pains to explain why vulnerable women who are in emotional turmoil should take extra precautions when soliciting the services of astrologers and men in other related fields.

“Distraught women fail to see rationally when they are in turmoil. As such they tend to treat whatever recommended by the astrologer as gospel truth.

Knowing this the manipulative men in the field take advantage of their vulnerabilities” he said, adding that irrespective of the coverage given to such cases by media the women continue to fall prey to the unscrupulous.

“Their families have a responsibility to protect them from the greedy and the immoral and provide moral support in times of tragedy and trauma” observed Thotawatte.

He blamed a section of the media for floating unrealistic and unethical supernatural stories to increase newspaper circulation despite the knowledge that those are totally baseless.

Dr  Manoj Fernando explaining the psychological aspect of rituals and astrology brought home the point that there’s very little correlation between gullibility and level of education of the general public.

“Even a section of the most educated falls prey to the swindlers in times of confusion and despair. Critical thinking and being informed are two things. It is important that we practice critical thinking so that we are able to think rationally and remain grounded even when circumstances in life are not in our favour” he observed.

Tradition, fear factor, dissolution of extended family system and general sense of instability, Dr Fernando reminded, have led to the public seeking help from the invisible across the board.

The person-centred approach of astrology in the form of a horoscope, Dr Fernando said, made it quite attractive to a majority of followers of this science for thousands of years.

“Astrology personalizes human potential. That itself it a strong pull though we know for a fact that more often than not nowadays astrologers often come up with more or less similar predications to all – either to coincide with the fulfillment of the expectations of the clients or to enhance their sense of vulnerability, both in view of further financial gain” retorted Dr Fernando.

As for himself, Dr Fernando said, he keeps his mind open just as in the case of a few other unfamiliar subjects of which he is yet to gain adequate knowledge to pass judgments on.
Even a section of the most educated falls prey to the swindlers in times of confusion and despair. Critical thinking and being informed are two things. It is important that we practice critical thinking so that we are able to think rationally and remain grounded even when circumstances in life are not in our favour”

Astrology personalizes human potential. That itself it a strong pull though we know for a fact that more often than not nowadays astrologers often come up with more or less similar predications to all – either to coincide with the fulfillment of the expectations of the clients or to enhance their sense of vulnerability, both in view of further financial gain

Dr. Manoj Fernando
manojf2000@yahoo.com

 
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  Comments - 51

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  • srinath.gunaratne Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:42 AM

    I think Thotawatta does not know what science is, This is very much similar to say Buddhism is also scientific.

    Please learn Uncertainty Principle of Heisenberg,
    Law of thermodynamics, Entropy increases.

    It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nature behave in a very random manner. Just believe that.
    Universe is created by bunch of random effects.

    The idiots who follow astrologers and go after Devala and Kovil waste money and loose self confidence.

    Kapurala Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:00 PM

    See weekend Sinhala papers. If Astrology and witchcraft ate true all students would pass exams, all will find employment, all will be prosperous Mudalalis, all will be happily married, you will get the partner you need and no one will have enemies because one could neutralise enemies through Kodi winey. Then all what we need is Malayala Sami to head our government for the betterment of the people and to take on UN and International Community. Our girls returning from Mid East will come with Oil Sheiks. via DM iPad app

    Concerned Tuesday, 08 April 2014 04:52 AM

    Depend on the Creator and not the creation!

    vipul Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:46 AM

    As far as I know Dhamma niyama is not controlled by anybody...that's why we should look after ourselves...
    I am not sure but assume its so..

    natural disasters mostly happen due to reckless actions by man like deforestation, air pollution ... as man has lost control of himself.. his sense of responsibility and sense of right and wrong
    Vipul

    Astronomer Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:02 AM

    I agree whole-heartedly that astrological predictions. It is only timid and weak-minded people who seek solace in astrology. Such people can never progress in life as they waste a lot of valuable time by waiting for auspicious times caleed 'nekath'!

    srinath.gunaratne Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:46 AM

    How on earth you relate the so called astrologer predictions (if it ever happened in the first place) to Buddha's teaching. Tell us any teaching of Buddha that confirms authenticity of astrology, All he said about Astrology is, Kin Karrisati tharaka? (What can stars do to you?)
    Lot of monks now a days, erase these words from the books.

    ANTON Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:07 AM

    HOW CAN THE POSITIONS OF STARS AND PLANETS AND POSITIONS OF LINES ON A PALM DETERMINE THE FUTURE OF A PERSON.

    Asokamala Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:08 AM

    Vulnerable section in the society whether they have paper qualifications or not, always fall prey not only to Astrology but religions and dirty Politicians. A person who worship ‘the Sun’ or ‘the Cow’ is more sensible than majority of us. And if you worship your parents and anybody else who help you for that matter can be considered more sensible than those who go after imaginary things

    MP Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:09 AM

    Life is what we make of it. Life is how we live it. Face life as astrology only finds negative shortcuts.

    Manduka Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:50 AM

    Just because of few crooks who have learnt probably less that 1% of Astrology calling themselves astrologers, one cannot disprove the ancient science.

    sajeewa Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:10 AM

    well done pubudu.... nice article...this is a debate we need to continue... as it has been observed media often play a very negative role by rousing unnecessary curiosity on super natural by fabricating stories.
    thank you dr manoj..hope you continue this debate through colombo forum
    sanjeewa

    Just Another Citizen Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:22 AM

    I could have predicted that....

    roshan Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:23 AM

    hi pubudu, its nice to see your writing in daily mirror, this is the first time i am seeing an article by you.. very balanced writing... please continue...
    there is a wide variety of other subjects too that we need to look at.... all the best
    yes as somebody said please send a copy of this story to all the politicians...
    roshan

    Public Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:35 AM

    After many millenniums that an educated astrologer truthfully discovered that future can not be predicted by astrology. Well, some rich communities from the inception agree that though black magic or astrology could up to certain extend divulge the past, but can not predict the future, except guess the future for money and to keep the business.

    kamma Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:41 AM

    There are no predictions but it is precisely decided the present and future of ones life by the Karma done by himself, said by Lord Buddha. Probably you may stay with your religion but just try to practice what Lord Buddha preached then you will see this in your eyes so nakedly.

    Peace Lover Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:57 AM

    Specially the Maharaja and the Leader of Opposition.

    navin Tuesday, 08 April 2014 05:57 AM

    Only Jesus Christ knows the future. He is the Beginning, the Present and the Future.. He is GOD. He has said in the Holy Bible that He is the Alpha and the Omega.... The Beginning and the End.

    Jesus Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:00 AM

    Mostly people who go behind this are buddist and Tamils...since they have nothing to belive in.there faith is with the astrologer how sad is this....

    Peace Lover Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:01 AM

    Astrology is a bunch of lies. If you check with one Astrologer write down his comments and then if you go to another Astrologer his comments will be different. So! the Astrologers must be legally BANNED !!! and punished if they practice in the future.

    Udeny Dayarathna Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:11 AM

    I have observed that the so called predictions have a much greater effect on persons who really believe in it, and has less or no effect on those who do not believe in it. I know some friends who dismiss it outright as rubbish, and strangely, their astrology believing wives tell me that most of the predictions about them turn out to be inaccurate. But, I have seen that some real believers get almost all their predictions right. What we can conclude is, that if you truly believe and cling on to it, like most of the people in South Asia, it will have a greater effect on you, and if you are no believer in it, like most of the people in the West, it has less or no effect on you ! The mind and faith is a strong force. Our minds emit rays and vibrations based on our thoughts, beliefs and social attitudes, and it does create an aura around us, which may be altering or counter balancing any effects from the planets in the case of some individuals.

    nicky karunarathna Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:14 AM

    The fools who procrastinates what is to be done waiting for an auspicious time will not achieve the objective. If you could achieve your objective, that itself is auspicious. What could the stars in the sky do? Buddha. So humans are time, matter and space and living is classical physics. When come to death(word death is colloquialism) - you are quantum physics.. Hence astrology has no role to play in human life.

    hemanthak Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:22 AM

    This should be printed in all Sinhala News Papers for common man to read. Super articles and superb examples by Indika Thotawatta.

    don charles Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:34 AM

    Like all astrologers, we need to take what he said with a pinch of salt.

    Empulze Wednesday, 09 April 2014 07:26 AM

    The goernment should make a public awareness programme about this in all media so that innocent citizens of Sri Lanka are saved from the poachers who prey on this misconception of readings of the future. People earn millions in this industry so lets all of us try to educate everyone we know and save them spending there hard earned money on some liers via DM Android App

    dooma Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:27 AM

    every single item and behavior follow a predefined pattern. its a cycle , time to complete one cycle can be fraction of second or 1000 + star years. These patterns repeatedly occurring. Astrology based on patents which represents (planetary positions) the time factor for the patterns. So from beginning of the civilization wisdom makers keep write these occurrence based on positions of planets , and predict the same thing again. so there is something greatness behind this mathematically ordered knowledge. Something that we unable to understand or prove based on preset science , not always false. modern science is just a marketing drama .... not the world's true.

    Kalu Banda Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:47 AM

    [quote name="Concerned"]Depend on the Creator and not the creation![/quote]
    The Creator also sounds astrological!

    ind Tuesday, 08 April 2014 12:50 PM

    Belief take you nowhere. What you do is most important. Other religions are forced to believe. That is artificial faith. Buddhism is by understanding.

    A.F.A.Cader Tuesday, 08 April 2014 06:54 AM

    Stars are just balls of fire. Other plants are just barren and they themselves are helpless. Only the ignorant and the gullible believe in Astrology. Positions of stars which we observe now are billions of years old.

    Asokamala Tuesday, 08 April 2014 07:14 AM

    Astronomy is a science that studies celestial objects (moons, planets, stars, comets, nebulae, galaxies, etc), which involves very advance mathematics, physics, chemistry,...
    Astrology is a myth to fool the gullible masses, who are always expects things from above

    Mark Warnakula Wednesday, 09 April 2014 03:15 AM

    Not only South Asian nations even in the so called West there are individuals and organizations that thrive on ignorance of gullible folks based on facts given by them on the date month and year of birth when thousands are born at the same tome. No body is the same. Scan the web or some times people are contacted having obtained the email addresses. Initially offering free services then predicting bad periods under planetary influences they offer miraculous gifts and try to squeeze those caught in the race for money promising success in gambling or winning a sweep. Some continue even when rejected unreplied. I believe not karma of a past birth but past acts cause people to suffer. If an individual makes a mistake or crime (karma meaning an act) wilfully or unintentionally under situational circumstances or thanha (greed) for power, position, lust or wealth mental suffering commences and no external person can present a panacea

    kevin Tuesday, 08 April 2014 12:50 PM

    Do not relay Buddha teachings to these this. Buddha never said about predictions. The Buddha is timelessness!

    vidhushi Tuesday, 08 April 2014 07:35 AM

    Buddha never said everything happened by kamma.

    When explaining Niyaama dharma or laws that govern the universe Buddha said kamma is only one of the five dhammas.

    The five niyamas are

    * utu-niyama: the caloric order

    * bija-niyama: the germinal order

    * kamma-niyama: the moral order

    * citta-niyama: the psychical order

    * Dhamma-niyama: natural phenomenal sequence

    Vidhushi

    Campos Tuesday, 08 April 2014 01:22 PM

    [quote name="gajaba"]THIS IS FOR THE ADMIN
    WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR POLICY ON COMMENT MODERATION. Because I've sent multiple comments with constructive ideas which did not get published.[/quote]
    ME TOO! They must be consulting astrologers before publishing.

    Ammaa Tuesday, 08 April 2014 01:24 PM

    Do good Tell others to do good, aboid bad and tell others to avoid bad, problem is much dont know what is good and bad,

    jay d Tuesday, 08 April 2014 07:09 PM

    well, i know one guy who do can say things 100% right, twice he prodicted that my cousins would die on that two separate dates sad it happened its right! via DM Android App

    awantha Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:04 AM

    You are very right vidushi...
    Thank you

    a lot of Buddhists are under the wrong impression that everything happens according to kamma

    Buddha has very clearly explained that it is not so... for instance however much a good birth you have go tdue to your good kamma there can be a chance of that life being taken away by laws of dhamma (dhamma niyama) which includes tsunamis, earthquakes...

    Awantha

    Nadeesha Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:04 AM

    What I meant is not astrology but numerology, Lions won in 1996 with 22 balls to spare against Ausis. Won on Sunday 20/20 final with dozen plus one balls to spare, many more figured out but can't remember all......hik... logicals and mathematicles....who is dying inside with astrological paying much more to India than to southern part of Sri Lanka....hk....hks....

    Upul Tuesday, 08 April 2014 01:45 PM

    If this is the case, what is the nekath time? Are we this gullible?

    max Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:09 AM

    all who have suspicious about astrology,kindly read the "predictions of nostradamus".thiws astrologer born in france year 1500 plus,was a professor of medicines,methematics and philosophy,after that he studdied astrology and became famous for his predictions,present,near future and the centuries of ahead.he accurately predicted world war 1,2 which taken place as he predicted hundreds of years ago.he predicted world war 3,he said war between religions,one side muslim world and all other religions to the other side,to surprise this is now slowly unfolding.among his predictions are incoming new world america,kennedy brothers,assasinations of 2 kennedys,rice of china and india,decline of european dominence,sadam husain,osama binladen and world trade center destruction,neclear weapons and hundreds more,all he predicted came true and the rest we can see when we passing the time.astrology based on maths,if cant understand,dont say no for it,say do not know it.

    visva Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:58 AM

    Yes True please tell me one person who practice Lord Buddha preached

    max Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:15 AM

    who says the buddhism and christianity say astrology is not true ???.when load dbuddha born,astrologers are the first to say his birth as the future king of the world born,not to conquer the world by arms but by spiritiality.regarding jesus,astrologers predicted the incoming birth of a new king of the world,then king of israel ordered to kill all the children under 1 year old to kill and his arky killed all,to save the child parents of jesus fled the israel to palastine and on the way jeses was born out of israel teritory.there are so many talking about astrology without study it properly.

    booruputha Wednesday, 09 April 2014 04:09 AM

    thanks for not posting my comment..shows the so called freedom in daily mirror

    gajaba Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:17 AM

    There is a false statement here.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE for two people (even twins) to have the same horoscope.

    No two objects can occupy the same "space" at the same "time". unless there is a parallel universe :)

    gajaba Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:21 AM

    THIS IS FOR THE ADMIN
    WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR POLICY ON COMMENT MODERATION. Because I've sent multiple comments with constructive ideas which did not get published.

    Manduka Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:26 AM

    The first stream-winner (sotapanna) in Gautama Buddha shasana is a super Astrologer!
    :)

    Astrologer Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:58 AM

    Tell this to our politicians in the government and opposition. via DM iPad app

    vipul Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:33 AM

    Dear max,
    please don't get literature confused with philosophy.

    What you have said about buddha's birth and journey of the three magi to see baby jesus are in the literature...

    Buddha and Jesus never said "when I was born so and so said this... so and so came"'

    Buddha in several sutras has eschewed the futility of going behind the super natural and Jesus in the first commandment itself says there's no power in the universe other than that of the god. Islam too says the same.

    Its important that we go by the word of religious leaders and not by what was said about them by the literary figures

    Vipul

    SpaceCab Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:33 AM

    and the Dhamma niyama is controlled by????

    ABC Tuesday, 08 April 2014 02:04 PM

    Look at a Sinhalese news paper (ads) to see how many thing they promise? via DM Android App

    Vishang Tuesday, 08 April 2014 08:35 AM

    Karma vipaaka does not happen on its own.

    There is "ananthara-samananthara prathya" (Falling under 24 prathya). Out of many factors, the biggest masses surrounding the humans in the 3d space around him (i.e. The planets) obviously affects them.
    Astrology is a 5000 year old science which tries to predict the time and place of this Karma vipaka. (Dasa-Kusal, Dasa-Akusal aapu hati penwanne Dasa-wen.)

    Kiris Baba Amaray Tuesday, 08 April 2014 04:48 AM

    Astrology cannot predict the future, it is only a money making business. Don't get cheated.


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