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Astrology and Sex
Entered on: September 2, 2003 8:44 AM by Ross
I got this in the latest e-newsletter from the Skeptic Society. It makes me laugh and pisses me off at the same time.  
"I wanted to share with you an experience of mine yesterday that may make you smile. It involves my girlfriend's family, who I feel are very smart people who believe weird things. She has a large immediate family, and they are all firm believers of multiple fringe concepts, including astrology, ghosts, and psychic powers (and at least half of them regularly visit an iridologist). If I express any skepticism on these matters I am quickly stifled.  
Anyway, my girlfriend's mother's birthday was yesterday, and they had a huge party at her house. I had recently finished reading your book and was motivated to try a small experiment. I found an astrology website on the Internet, and printed out 30 copies of the full 12 sign horoscope. However, I changed 15 of the copies on Microsoft Word so that the readings no longer matched up with the Zodiac sign. At the party, I passed all these out and had everyone rate how accurate their own readings were on a scale of 1 to 5. Of course I did not tell them that 15 of them were reading false horoscopes. Several members figured I was up to something, but they went along anyway. In the end, the average score for the correct horoscopes was 3.7, and for the non-correct 3.9.  
When it was all over, I told them the truth, and showed them that the doctored horoscopes actually got a slightly higher rating. The response was alarming.  
I was called a know-it-all by at least two people, overheard someone call me an asshole, and my girlfriend later informed me that her father was upset, and that I had to apologize. I found it very ironic that they were upset with me for "tricking" them, but failed to see that the evidence from the experiment showed that it was astrology doing the tricking.  
My conclusion: skepticism is very intrinsically rewarding, but it has not been good for my sex life."

NEWS 108 - 11 Comments
From: John Entered on: September 2, 2003 10:40 AM
That is completly asinine! I would get the fuck out of that relationship if I were him. I know I'd want kick someone in the ass. If I overheard someone call me an asshole for that all hell would break lose. I'm a mushroom cloud laying motherfucker!
From: Ross Entered on: September 2, 2003 11:34 AM
That's funny because I thought of you (and Bone, though I don't know if Muffin is superstitious or merely religious) and what would happen if you tried a similar tactic on Melissa's family. Mainly the sister who thinks we can't see craters on the Moon even with our most powerful telescopes. I honestly have no real evidence to go on in your case either, but I couldn't put myself in that position because I don't know Heather's family's beliefs well enough to make a prediction. I can firmly state, however, that the majority of my family members (certainly my immediate family, plus many of my cousins and aunts/uncles) would wipe their asses with a horoscope someone handed them.
From: John Entered on: September 2, 2003 1:50 PM
I'm not sure if any of Melissa's immediate family members believe in horoscopes and I don't want find out. Lucky for me it has never come up in conversation. I do know that Melissa herself does not believe in that bullshit although I'm sure you would have figured that. Melissa's sister is such a skeptic that she won't believe we can see craters on the Moon from Earth. I sure hope she would also be skeptical when it comes to horoscopes.
From: Ross Entered on: September 2, 2003 2:11 PM
Good point, I didn't think of that. What color does she think the sky is? Please ask her for me next time you see her.
From: The Bone Entered on: September 2, 2003 2:24 PM
Luckily Muffin isn't the least bit interested in any of that superstious mumbo jumbo, otherwise it would be too much. Already the religious shit is too much. As for craters on the moon? What the fuck is that about.? Mellissa's sister doesn't think you can see them from Earth? Jesus Christ.
From: Ross Entered on: September 2, 2003 2:38 PM
That's right, asshole.  
Apparently, that's what she said one time. I prodded Roche for specifics as to the conversation surrounding that momentous declaration, but I don't think he could come up with any. I have brought this up so many times, it's almost a staple of any conversation that even tangentially mentions Melissa's family.
From: John Entered on: September 4, 2003 10:46 AM
I was not there when the infamous comment was made. Melissa filled me in on the absurd conversation much to my chagrin. I believe the conversation took place outside on a Moonlit night. Her husband mentioned something about seeing craters with a telescope to which Melissa's sister, incredulous, replied with thats impossible. Melissa, normally tolerant of her sister's lack of intellect berated her for her absurd notion. I believe that's how it went. Melissa can chime in if she wants with more details.
From: Ross Entered on: October 30, 2003 8:54 PM
Speaking (a long time ago, this is the most recent discussion I can find on the topic) of science, I heartily recommend catching the new show "The Elegant Universe" on PBS. It just came out but it should be re-run periodically. It's based on the book that I think Roche has read, and it's very well produced and just plain fucking cool. It's in 2 parts, the first is 2 hours and the second is 1.
From: BigFatty Entered on: October 30, 2003 9:17 PM
I caught an hour of the first part. It was pretty good. I called Roche to watch the second hour, but he told me 24 was on.  
Damn your DIVOing ways.
From: Ross Entered on: October 31, 2003 8:45 AM
Hmm... I thought I was watching the second half after 24. Anyway, I'm recording it, maybe I can burn it to DVD or VCD for you guys. It's really frigging good.
From: John Entered on: October 31, 2003 10:39 AM
I did read the book which was sweet and I would be interested in seeing this show. Burn away, Bert.

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