When you help someone up a hill, you get that much closer to the top yourself. -Anonymous
Question #21057 posted on 11/23/2005 3:01 a.m.

re Board Question #20895

Dear Gazing Up

For help on your astrology paper, you may want to consult the book Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos. The theme of Paulos' book is that the average citizen's inability to understand some of the inherent properties of numbers, mathematics, and basic statistics leads to a kind of numerical and mathematical illiteracy which he calls "innumeracy".

In one chapter, Paulos says that this kind of innumeracy opens the door for a number of "psuedosciences" (such as astrology) to enjoy success, whereas if the average member of our society otherwise had a basic understanding of statistical probability it would not be so. Paulos cites a few interesting studies debunking astrology through the use of statistical probability. It's pretty interesting stuff. He also discusses medical quackery, numerology, parapsychology, and a host of other concepts.

If you get the book in the library, flip over to Chapter 3 for a discussion of these themes.