[Avodah] The Science Of Astrology

Jay F. Shachter jay at m5.chicago.il.us
Sat Sep 7 15:03:12 PDT 2019

> Astrology was taken as science for centuries beyond their day.  The
> IE, a rationalist, was an astrologer because in his world there was
> no contradiction between the two.

The idea that nearly all of our Sages believed in something for which
there is zero empirical support, bothers me greatly.  Consequently I
am highly motivated to think up a possible rational justification for
their belief in astrology.  This is what I have come up with: in the
time and place where our Sages lived, diet varied with the seasons.
Therefore, so did nutritional deficiencies (thus, in Northern European
countries, until a couple centuries ago, most people got scurvy every
Winter).  Nutritional deficiencies at different gestational stages
could have different effects on the unborn child -- e.g., an iron
deficiency at a gestational age of one month could have a different
effect than a salt deficiency at a gestational age of five months.
The effect would be very slight because the mother absorbs most of the
nutritional deficiencies herself (e.g., if you have no calcium in your
diet when you are pregnant, you will give your baby the calcium in
your body, and your teeth will fall out), but there really might have
been a slight but nonzero correlation between a person's character and
the season of his birth.

                        Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
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                                jay at m5.chicago.il.us

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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