I’m sure I’ve said or published some pretty stupid things in my life, but I hope I have not made such a complete ass of myself as did David Dickinson in his recent post:
Mr. Dickinson describes himself as: “Science journalist, astronomy specialist, educator. Retired from the USAF in 2007 and am now a science teacher and freelance science writer. Am out stargazing on every clear night and hope to add science fiction writer to my resume!”
I pity his students because he does not know his subject and peddles ignorance rather than knowledge. He purports to know something about astrology but his writing makes it clear that he is wallowing in ignorance. His grasp of astronomy is also fairly weak. Here are some examples:
He writes of the division between Cancer and Leo: “Astrologically speaking, that cutoff (astrologers love to refer to this as the “cusp” of a sign or house) was passed today at 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Time 16:00 Universal Time when solar longitude along the ecliptic equaled 120 degrees.” Even a beginning astrologer at the Kindergarten level will recognize this statement as false.
He writes: “Astronomically, the Sun just entered the constellation Cancer this past Saturday, and will remain there along the ecliptic until August 10. Thus, all of us late July babies (including the royal baby and myself) should be Cancers!” Clearly Mr. Dickinson has no idea of the difference between the tropical and the sidereal zodiacs.
He writes: “The Earth, in addition to orbiting our Sun once a year, also wobbles on its axis like a top. When we say “The Sun is in Leo,” we mean that the Sun appears in the direction of the constellation Leo as seen from the Earth.” Neither astrologers nor astronomers would agree with this statement. Again he is unaware of the difference between the tropical and the sidereal zodiacs.
He writes: “As revealed to the stunned world a few years back (but astronomers always tried to tell them), the Sun actually passes through the additional constellation of Ophiuchus from October 30th to November 23rd. Ophiuchus is the constellation of the Serpent Bearer, and thus far, no astrologer has stepped forth to tell us what folks born under this sign might be like.” Total ignorance again. He can’t tell the difference between a sign and a constellation.
Writing about subjects of which one is totally ignorant is a sign of lack of professionalism and falls within the constellation of yellow journalism.