Stop Freaking out, NASA Did Not Just Change Your Zodiac Sign https://t.co/0Jd4IvOZdU— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) September 19, 2016
Glamour Magazine has set off a kerfuffle with a story confusing astrology with astronomy.
I got into amateur astronomy as a teenager, and have long known that the astrological sign dates did not match where the sun is during the course of the year. Saturn right now is in Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer, who sticks his foot in between Scorpius and Sagittarius.
But astrology has nothing to do with science, at least not modern science. It is a mystical system. If you really believe that the actual position of a particular planet in the sky has any effect on your life, it is not coming from a rational place. The non-rational (as distinct from irrational) has its place. I'm interested in stars with earth-like planets because they might harbor life.
As for constellations, they are just a convention, though an ancient one. We could make up our own if we wanted. I think the real universe is vastly more interesting than the mystical one. Neil deGrasse Tyson agrees with me, as did my late astronomer friend Frank Kameny. We were all born at different times of year: Tyson on October 5, Kameny on May 21, and I on March 30. As to its meaning, I invoke Edmund from King Lear:
"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are
sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make
guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if
we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion;
knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance;
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 whore-master 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 I am rough and
lecherous. Fut! I should have been that I am, had the
maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing."
Trump cries "America First" and calls for barring all Muslims from the country, then he fills the Trump International Hotel with imported goods and is ready with Qur'ans and prayer rugs for those who can afford his conspicuous-consumption rates. He deserves a prize for brass-fronted impudence (to take a phrase from Frederick Douglass) if he wins this election. Thanks to Dana Milbank for the tour.
I appreciate Sen. Kaine's sentiments, but I think if you read what Pope Francis has written, you would be less optimistic. His Holiness has a great pastoral gift, the value of which I do not minimize. But he remains a conservative, and he has made quite clear that, his personal kindness and graciousness notwithstanding, he has no intention of changing Church doctrine regarding women or gay people. Indeed, he is appallingly uninformed on the science of gender identity. The Catholic Church is not about to budge any time soon.
This article has something in common with Trump's reference to Article XII of the Constitution, in that the referenced 29th and 41st chapters of Revelation do not exist. The difference is that this is satire.
I do not believe in divine punishment, since I don't believe in a divinity. But Tony Perkins does believe in it, or so one conclude from what he says.
My column this week looks at the odd alliance between the religious right and the utterly heathenish Trump.
Wayne Grudem, a Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, writes at the conservative website Townhall.com about why he supports Donald Trump. His article, "Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice," acknowledges several of Trump's character and behavioral flaws and then says it doesn't matter if the alternative is worse. He goes into a long list of issues on which he claims that Trump is better than Hillary Clinton.
I could not disagree more with Professor Grudem, so here I will respond to several of them. Given the enormous gulf between the candidates with regard to experience and qualifications, this election should not be close. The fact that the race is close should be a stark reminder not to treat the frightening prospect of a Trump presidency as something to dismiss lightly. Perhaps you may find some of my arguments useful in making the case to friends and family members who are sticking with Trump despite his almost daily barrage of appalling statements. Here goes, for what it's worth.
Abortion. I am sick of the religious bullying on this issue. The utter contempt for people making different choices in this area is very disturbing. I am personally troubled by abortion, and think that the ideal situation is for unwanted pregnancies to be prevented through contraception. But the question of whether to continue or end a pregnancy is not my decision. It is up to the woman. You can say a thousand times that this makes me pro-abortion, but that is not true. Respecting people's right to make a different choice than mine does not mean I agree with that choice. The point is that IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
As for contraception, the Catholic Church, in which I was raised, is stoutly opposed to it. A leading anti-choicer, former senator Rick Santorum, has made it clear that he does not just want to overturn Roe v. Wade, but also Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized contraception for married couples, and Eisenstadt v. Baird, which did the same for single women. I find it stunning that people in this day and age are willing, much less determined, to mind their neighbors' business in such an intrusive way. The constitutional separation of church and state protects everyone by prohibiting us from imposing our religious dictates on one another.
A powerful rebuke of Donald Trump's Islamophobia by the father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died in service to this country.
Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the Moral Mondays movement, gave a powerful speech Thursday evening at the Democratic National Convention. He is a strong ally of LGBT equality.
My new Blade column gapes at Trump's fascist rally in Cleveland, as well as the growing scandal over Russian interference in the American election. And I examine the sharp contrast between the two parties' vice presidential candidates. Have a gander while you watch self-defeating leftists trying to sabotage the proceedings in Philadelphia.
Seriously, Uncle Ben last night linked Hillary Clinton to Lucifer. What a sad spectacle he has made of himself, wrecking a once-shining reputation. But keep talking, Doctor. Don't pivot to the general election. Keep the crazy on display.
Pamela Geller? Geert Wilders? Fine company you are keeping, Chris Barron.
A fine performance by the former congressman at yesterday's disgraceful hearing on the anti-LGBT, so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which is simply a continued attack on gay families waged under a new (and false) banner.
I fell in love with this guy when I was 8. This is one of my favorite clips. Profound defiance delivered in the most amicable tone. His voice was lost to Parkinson's Disease years ago, but it lives on in recordings and in our memories. He is still remarkable. He risked everything to stand up for his beliefs and to resist serving in the Vietnam War. That made him a hero to me and many others, even as it stirred hate in some people and brought the wrath of American government down upon him. He was ultimately vindicated. His unique voice carried his influence far beyond the precincts of boxing.