Skepticism

Carlin on astrology

An inaccurate, but skeptical bit from the regrettably late comedian George Carlin:

Regarding astrology: An obstetrician or maternity nurse who weighs between one hundred and two hundred pounds actually exerts a greater gravitational force on a baby at the time of its birth than any of the distant planets that are said to influence a person’s personality and destiny. Why aren’t these bulky, proximate objects factored into the astrological charts that are so carefully laid out?

This statement was tested with an online calculator. If the one used was not wildly inaccurate, even the gravitational force of Jupiter on Earth is orders of magnitude weaker than the force of the nurse.

Someone points out in the comments (thanks, Shanek!) that Phil Plait cleared this up in one of his videos on Youtube. Jupiter has a gravitational pull 3 times stronger than a person standing right next to you. Averaging out all the planets, it’s barely stronger than a person standing right next to you…but he points out in the video, any nearby mountain probably exerts more force.

Phil even mentions the “doctor standing next to you” bit in the video. Go check out how awesome he is.


NOTE: Young people who google George Carlin may encounter offensive, hilarious material. But Phil Plait is mostly child-safe, and even more skeptical!
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vreify

vreify

Vy is a recent graduate working in a neuroscience lab with children and monkeys. She likes sewing, knitting, lifting weights, and reading in her free time. Especially reading about science!

1 Comment

  1. August 1, 2008 at 7:01 pm —

    Sorry, but the last statement is wrong. Jupiter’s gravity is greater than a person pressed up right next to you, as Phil “The Bad Astronomer” Plait explains in this video:

    Don’t feel bad; I made this same mistake and had to post a video correction on the subject.

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