Astrology and the Vancouver School Board -or- Does anyone else find this weird?

The past week has been packed. At the end of this month, I will be heading out to sea for three weeks. Going to sea may sound fun,but it really means packing up a laboratory, and fitting it in a small space allotted to you on a boat. It also means preparing everything you could possibly fathom needing for your work – in triplicate – just in case.

So, giving my body a break from cleaning plastic bottles with piping hot acid, I decided to grab lunch. To give my mind a break, I decided to grab whatever pamphlet, newspaper, or, in this case, Vancouver School Board Summer Experience 2008 brochure that was available. Flipping through the Continuing Adult Education courses, I stumbled across something between Office Systems & Procedures and Personal Image and Health that I found somewhat alarming – :

My camera phone can’t focus on such small writing, so here’s the text:

If you are the parent (or grandparent) of a child from 0 to 17, learn how Zodiac signs influence your child’s personality & abilities. Use this knowledge to help you child develop new skills & abilities for being successful. Discover talents & capabilities of your child according to the main planets in a birth chart.Three sessions – $49

I hope I’m not the only one that is bothered by this? Alright, I get accounting, martial arts, and even floristry arts courses – but astrology? I’m sorry, but is this a case where a public school board that is promoting flagrant mysticism? Mind you, they aren’t specific about astrology – among others (see here), there are courses available to assist tapping into your Practical intuition, Seeing the Light (a course on reading auras), and Secret Brain Boosters (“Brain dysfunction is the #1 reason people fail work, school & relationships”).

Something about this irks me. Perhaps it’s the fact that this is a publicly funded program (i.e. good luck finding a course in “How to be a better Christian/Muslim/Taoist/Zeus-ist”). What do you think: should courses that cover material demonstrated to have little or no scientific merit be taught by the VSB, or any VSB-related project?

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Dave Semeniuk spends hours locked up in his office, thinking about the role the oceans play in controlling global climate, and unique ways of studying it. He'd also like to shamelessly plug his art practice:

7 Responses to “Astrology and the Vancouver School Board -or- Does anyone else find this weird?”

  1. Hayles

    You haven’t heard? They’re replacing chemistry with alchemy, physics with magic, and biology with creationism!

  2. Thaya

    I am Thaya, a professional astrologer. Exactly the one who gives astrology classes in the Vancouver School Board. You don’t know that astrology is a science? I feel sorry for you. I guess you are just a narrow-minded person.
    Don’t expect others being the same.

  3. Dave Semeniuk

    Hi Thaya,

    Astrology is not a science because it fails to satisfy a basic tenet of the scientific method: the testing an actual hypothesis. If you could point out a piece of work with proof positive evidence that astrology has scientific merit (i.e. the testing of a hypothesis in a controlled, unbiased environment with appropriate control groups), I would appreciate this very much. To my knowledge (and the collective knowledge of wikipedia), this evidence does not exist. However, I can point to some literature that summarize the evidence against astrology. Here are two examples:

    Biswas, S., et al., eds. Cosmic Perspectives. 1989, Cambridge U. Press
    Culver et al. Astrology: True or False. 1988, Prometheus Books.


  4. neo

    it doesent take a sicentist to look at the ocean and see it changes with the moon cycle. or take for example a womans menstral cycle that is connected with the moon. so lets think about watter and gravity.

  5. Ellen

    Why does a course have to have “scientific merit” in order to be taught? It only needs to be of interest to people. Floristry is not a science nor is it a recognized high school subject? Neither are yoga, Pilates or Qi-chong but they are taught through VSBM continuing ed. What about the Feng Shui course? Can this subject be “proven” to your standards? Astrology is not a religion so it can’t be compared to Christianity; and it is actually more about mathematics than science.

  6. Yuliya

    I found this page by accident.
    I am not astonished by the ignorance of an author, but by the aggressive expression of this lack of knowledge. This is just funny. I suggest you deepen your knowledge on the topic of what Astrology is before you make statements that make you look ,not just ignorant, but simply stupid. I do not mean to insult you personally, but this is the only word that can describe this article of yours. I am not going to explain here what astrology is, because I believe that if you think you are smart enough to post such ridiculous nonsense you should be smart enough to read at least one book on the subject you are diminishing.

  7. Libra

    I agree with Yuliya. This is a comment of an ignorant person with no in-depth knowledge of astrology. I wish this courae is offered again. I would love to take it.

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