Online reading assignment question: opinions towards astrology

Astronomy 210 Online reading assignments 1-2, spring semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

(The following question was asked subsequent to, and then again following the lecture discussing the basis of sun-sign astrology, and how precession has shifted the position of the sun within certain zodiac constellations by one month from the dates published in popular astrological horoscopes.)

I believe astrology is able to make accurate predictions about my future. (Graded for completion.)
(SD) Strongly disagree.
(D) Disagree.
(N) Neutral.
(A) Agree.
(SA) Strongly agree.

Student responses (pre-instruction responses, N = 67)
Sections 30674, 30676
(SD) : 10 students
(D) : 23 students
(N) : 24 students
(A) : 10 students
(SA) : 0 students

Student responses (post-instruction responses, N = 61)
Sections 30674, 30676
(SD) : 11 students
(D) : 22 students
(N) : 23 students
(A) : 5 students
(SA) : 0 students

Of the 67 students who had answered the pre-instruction question, and the 61 students who had answered the post-instruction question, 50 students had answered both the pre- and post-instruction questions (while 17 students answered only the pre-instruction, and 11 students only answered the post-instruction question).

Of the 50 students who answered both the pre- and post-instruction questions, 33 students had no change in their opinion, while 17 students changed their opinion.

Student responses (pre- and post-instruction responders, no change in opinion, N = 33)
Sections 30674, 30676
(SD) : 7 students
(D) : 11 students
(N) : 11 students
(A) : 4 students
(SA) : 0 students

Student responses (pre- and post-instruction responders, change in opinion, N = 17)
Sections 30674, 30676
(SD) : pre: 0 students; post: 2 students
(D) : pre: 7 students; post: 7 students
(N) : pre: 7 students; post: 7 students
(A) : pre: 3 students; post: 1 student
(SA) : pre: 0 students; post: 0 students

A Student's t-test on all 50 students who answered both the pre-and post-instruction questions (33 students with no change in their opinion together with the 17 students that changed their opinion) results in p = 0.25 (t = 1.15, sdev = 0.921, doff = 91), and thus there is no statistically significant difference between pre-and post-instruction responses.

For the 17 students who took both and responded differently to the pre- and post-instruction questions, here were the shifts:

(D) to (SD): 1 student
(D) to (N): 5 students
(D) to (A): 1 student
(N) to (SD): 1 student
(N) to (D): 6 students
(A) to (D): 1 student
(A) to (N): 2 students

"Negative shifts" in opinion (e.g., towards disagreement): 11 students
"Positive shifts" in opinion (e.g., towards agreement): 6 students
(Compare with the 34 students with no shifts in opinion.)

It appears that there is only a slight shift towards negative opinions towards astrology in this small population sample, as many students apparently already have strongly held positions on this matter that are not going to be affected much by a single lecture on the basis of sun-sign astrology on Earth's revolution about the sun.

Students were given the opportunity to explain their pre-instruction opinion, responses are listed below verbatim.

Briefly explain your answer regarding your belief/disbelief in astrology. (Graded for completion.)
"My belief toward's astrology is that i dont believe that the stars are able to predict my future. I have never been presented or had a credible resource that would change my mind so far.
I believe that astrology has some accuracy one it comes to predicting my future, but I do not have enough evidence to say 'strongly agree'."

"I do believe some of what astrology says about people's signs, but I do not believe that it could make accurate predictions about my future."

"I disagree because I think that there are too many people in this world to base their individual personalities only on where the sun, moon and other objects were located at the time they were born."

"I believe it is entirely hogwash. I believe in creation and I look forward to learning about the universe God created."

"im neutral because i believe the stars can give vage idealsabout someones life but it isnt always right."

"I believe that astrology is important mainly because it's where we live. Also it's important to have an idea about our surroundings."

"Astrology hasnt been proven to have anything to do with our future or fate. Its just something people choose to believe in to blame their misfortunes on."

"I believe in astrology just need to be more educated on it."

"I believe that the predictions can't happen on your future."

"astrology to me is stories that the ancients made up to describe the sky. i believe horoscopes are fun little things to read when your bored and to make you worry about something else"

"I really don't know what to believe when it comes to astrology because i believe in God. I'm not sure if astrology disowns my beliefs or not."

"Due to the horoscope reading it described me accurately. It also described what will happen to accuratly."

"I believe it can predict certain things with our earth, but I don't believe it can predict anything about human-beings."

"I picked neutral because I am open minded about the idea that astrology can predict the future of others, I don't agree or disagree. I am the type of person that reads my horoscope for fun."

"I believe Astrology to have a meaningful impact in everyone's lives and predict many things, but it can not predict my future accurately."

"I somewhat believe in astronomy predicting things about my future, because every now and then my horoscope will be correct."

"I just don't believe the fact that the month & day your born into truly has much affect on the way your personality is affected."

"Astrology may be able to provide probable situations for our world in years to come, but it does not provide any logical and reasonable assumptions for a single persons day to day life."

"I believe in the stars and future investigation of the universe."

"I believe that the zodiac gives us an understanding of some obvious and underlying personality traits. Also I think it helps you find someone that you have relationships with. We all whether conscious or subconscious play to these traits."

"Well i sure hope the mayan civilization is incorrect or we are all in for it so i will choose to disagree on the grounds of that i don't want to witness the apocalypse."

"I believe that our zodiac signs sometimes explain the way we act and behave and sometimes when i read about mine they are dead on. However, sometimes i think its just all in our head and we unconsciously act the way that our sign told us we would."

"I will not say I don't believe it: but I will say I would have to learn more to make an accurate (final) answer."

"I believe Astrology may be accurate when it comes to personality types and their signs, but not so much when it comes to daily horoscopes. In my opinion daily horoscopes influence a reader only because the reader is either nervous about the predicted event happening or would like for that event to occur."

"The only part of astrology that I acknowledge as being maybe slightly accurate and hold some meaning are the personality traits certain signs can share. All of the horoscope articles that people read are only accurate because the readers believe them. If someone says you'll have a wonderful day today, and you truly believe it, you'll probably have a great day. The same applies if you read that something bad will happen to you. If you believe it, then you'll probably be jumpy, make more mistakes, and thus creating a series of events that most likely ends in a bad day."

"I answered neutral because there are a lot of things that resemble myself as a libra but on the other hand, it's you yourself that makes your future, in my opinion."

"I believe our future is determined by our actions and decisions, not by the stars."

"I just believe its just made up. People can tell you anything and they will believe it. I just don't understand how the stars have any connection to us."

"I believe our future is based on decisions we make"

"To each his own. I wouldn't criticize either way. But it is fun."

"I think it's highly inaccurate. Star & planet patterns determining your future? C'mon now. However, I totally believe in fortune cookies."

"i believe there is a lot out there and much to learn and what we know now is only a small little spec to what we still have to learn about our universe and other univerese out there. i really have a hard time believing in extraterrestrials though"

"Astrology stuff I have read in the past has never been close to my personality. I'm definitely not assertive and impulsive."

"So far mostly everything I've read on horoscopes and zodiac sign readings have been true. I believe it has something to do with my life."

"I don't believe in astrology because it seems to be a little too far fetched. It has no physical evidence and outcomes to convince me that it can make accurate predictions about my future. But then again, I am a christian and I believe only God knows my future."

"i feel like astrology has its moments, such as describing peronality types, but for the most part its a lot of guess work. people can be what they want to be, regardless of what sign they are."

"I have experienced times where the prediction is uncanny and also it has been way off. I like to believe in it more when it plays to my benefit. :)"

"Human beings are responsible for their own and each other's fate. It is not the fault of stars for misfortune: it is the fault of someone who put themselves in a certain position or the fault of another person for evoking harm on someone else."

"I am not really sure how to answer this question yet. I think once I get a better understanding for Astronomy I will be able to make a better judement."

"I feel that astrology accurately defines who we are and how we act."

"I believe Astrology can help us understand whats going on outside of this world but has no power in predicting our future."

"the idea that astrology can predict aspects of our lives is cool to me but i find it highly improbable."

"I don't believe astrology is a psychic force. People born under a particular sign may have certain tendencies, but what they choose to do with that is up to them."

"Any 'accurate' prediction is just a coincidence."

"I believe the descriptions and characteristics of zodiac signs are accurate. I personally feel I have the tendencies and personality of a gemini, and I know countless people who are identical to their zodiac sign description. However, I have not done enough research on the accuracy in future predictions, so I do not have an honest opinion on the matter."

"I agree with the book in it's statement that astrology is a pseudoscience and while it is entertaining and sometimes probably coincidentally true, I don't put much stock in it."

"I haven't looked in to astrology enough to have a definite opinion on the matter, but I think that if everything in the universe affects everything else, astrological signs could have some affect."

"i dont believe astrology can predict the future but i have noticed similarities in people of the same sign."

"Astrology can only make predictions about the human race as a whole or of my molecules and were they will eventually be, not my personal future"

"I don't believe astrology can predict my future, however it did point Wisemen to baby Jesus so it must have some value."

"I read my horoscope daily and sometimes it is right, but other times i feel its totally wrong."

"I believe that I make my own future with the decision I make."

"I feel that astrology has been able to explain many mysteries and predict many other interesting things, however I feel that astrology does not affect people's lives directly. A lot of people say that the stars guide them and can tell them about their past and such, but I personally feel that astrology cannot be linked to my life directly."

"I feel this way because sometimes the horiscopes are true and sometimes they aren't."

"i don't believe that any planetary motion has any affect on predicting my future."

"I don't know much about the logistics of astrology but i read my horoscope frequently. Often times when i read my previous days horoscope they are pretty accurate. I also possess many characteristics of a typical Gemini."

"I believe astrology can tell us a lot about what is all around the universe and how it can affect us."

"It's a sham where master manipulators trick people into spending their money for comfort. Rather than accepting personal responsibility for past actions, or assuming the burden of making their own decisions regarding their fate, many people would rather assume that it was up to powers out of their control. Astrology has been shown to have absolutely zero scientific basis in reality. Anyone contending otherwise is either trying to sell a service or has some anecdote that lies purely in coincidence, and not causation."

"I believe that the placement of stars, planets, etc. will have an effect on future weather patterns; however, I do not believe that the cosmic pull of the universe decides my fate in relation to who i will meet the next day, etc."

"I believe astrology does not make accurate predictions about my future because I don't think relative positions of celestial bodies has any influence on the decisions I make or the the things I encounter."

"I think astrology is a neat subject, however I am somewhat suspicious about it being able to predict my future. I know it is an ironic statement to say that, seeing as suspicious is one of the descriptive words for Capricorn."

"i currently have no reason for proof of its accuracy but am open to new ideas"

"i think that there can be some similarities between people born during a certian times, but people's choices and emotions are contolled by them."

"I don't believe that it can fully predict my future, but I also believe it can make some accurate predications."

"I believe astrology does not make accurate prediction about my future. It may affect the earth causing natural disasters but not me as a person."

"I do not believe astrology can actually predict my future. It seems like nonsense."

Students were later given the opportunity to explain their post-instruction opinion, responses are listed below verbatim.

Briefly explain your answer regarding your belief/disbelief in astrology. (Graded for completion.)
"I dont believe astrology makes accurate predictions about my future because there has been no proof supporting that it does."

"I didn't say strongly agree because I don't think it can make accurate predictions on everything but it can help show people's tendencies and how they may get along."

"I do not believe that astrology has any way of making accurate predictions about peoples lives."

"I'm not sure what to think because I don't know much about astrology and I would like to learn more."

"I understand that the zodiac signs correspond to particular months of the year and are a way to break up the year into twelve distinct parts. But I do not believe that astology has anything to do with foretelling the future. Only God knows the future."

"I think they could give us insight to our future but i dont believe it can tell us what is going to happen to us."

"Because there are multiple people born with the same sign and they all have different personalities and outcomes."

"Everyone born in the same month have different traits and behaviors."

"Astrology is just the movements of the constellations in the sky. I don't see how the movement of stars can define our actions."

"Astrology can't accurately predict my future because at any point i can choose something i wouldnt normally do just to see what happens. the future is random."

"Im not really sure if astrology can make accurate predictions because I havent been showed any evidence."

"I don't really believe it can predict my future."

"I dont understand how the stars can tell me anything about myself or my future when it hasnt been laid out infront of me."

"I still believe that it can predict certain things about our world, but not anything about humans."

"I don't know if astrology is capable of predicting my future. I'm not so sure if it's reasonable or not."

"I believe astrology foretells a fortune in a general, roundabout manner that doesn't use specifics."

"This way a fortune can be applied to any given day alluding to instances that we ourselves give more meaning to than the stars."

"Yes, I agree because sometimes my horoscope will be very accurate."

"I just don't believe how a group of stars can tell if you'll have a good rest of the week or not."

"Astrology is unable to make accurate predictions about my future because the predictions that are brought forth through astrology are so general that they can apply to nearly anybody and the process by which the predictions are derived is no longer valid because the constellations have shifted from precession."

"Astrology is not going to predict what my future plans involve around my personal and professional life."

"In a subconscious way I believe astrology could guide us in our life."

"I believe that sometimes it does accurately predict things but i also think that some people just act a certain way because thats how their sign says they are going to be for the day."

"I just don't see how stars have anything to do with our future. They aren't connected at all."

"I find it interesting that there is a/an (approximate) month to month linear relation to our personal traits."

"I believe the horoscopes that 'predict your future' are general assumptions about daily life that have a 50/50 chance of either coming true or not."

"I'm not really sold on astrology making accurate predictions about my future. I believe you yourself make your future."

"The position of the stars are a natural occurence that have no influence on my future actions."

"I believe our decisions and the decisions of others steer us on our future"

"I really doubt it does but if people want to believe it then more power to them."

"Astrology is a pseudoscience. It's all a bunch of phooey."

"i don't really pay attention to any of that. i know that some people live their lives according to astrological predictions, but im not the kind of person who makes life decisions based on what people think i should do just because im an aries."

"The stars are pretty, but I don't think they determine my fate."

"I do not know much about this subject to make a definite decision on weather or not astrology makes accurate predicitions about my future."

"It's just stars, i don't know, i just don't see how it can predict my future."

"I don't know if I believe it. I like to think the things that sound good and could fit in my future are true but I firmly believe we make our own future. The zodiac signs are all off as of today anyway."

"I find it hard to accept that stars many light years away can influence our fate on Earth."

"I feel like the time we are born can have some predictions on what type of a person we will be but I still feel like there are instances where the persons personality does not match up with what they are supposed to be"

"its a cool concept but i find this highly improbable."

"Any 'correct' prediction is just a coincidence."

"I don't believe astrology, the alignment of the stars and constellations can accurately make predictions about my future because there has been no test that verifies a correlation between human personality and the stars."

"I'm not sure if the rotation of the stars necessarily makes a difference in a person's life. I want to learn more before I make a decision."

"I am skeptical about how the star patterns predict my future."

"As much fun as it is to read my horiscopes in the back of trashy magazines...i still think its a bunch of bs"

"I don't really believe in astrology but it is strange that some of the personality characteristics match with mine. An example would be that I am stubborn and that is a trait of a Taurus"

"I don't think that everyone is able to live by and believe the same astrological horoscope but sometimes it can be close to accurate and it is always nice to have a little guidance for your day even if not totally correct."

"The months are not even correct with the right sign, so I am told I am a leo but now August is lined up with Cancer. How can someone read the stars and how does the stars communicate that I have a secret admirer?"

"Even with horoscopes, I feel that astrology cannot make predictions about your life."

"Still not totally convinced that astrology makes accurate predictions. But it has been right a few times."

"astrology can make accurate predictions about the sky above me in my future and possibly the end of the world which could possibly be in my future"

"I think that astrology can be extremely general, and many of their predictions can fit into anyone's life, sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"Astrology makes great predictions with the information that they can rarely get their hands on."

"Same answer as last time--the alignment of the stars and all that nonsense has no bearing on what makes you, you."

"I'm a spiritual person, I believe God is the only one with the ability to predict my future."

"I beleive Astrology has gives no significance on future holdings. As a Christian I have place faith in God who ordains our futures."

"I believe astrology cannot make accurate predictions about my future because it has no bearing on the choices I make or the people I meet."

"While I don't believe astrology can literally predict my future, I do believe that it does play a role in my life. It might not tell me that on X day Y will happen, but it can help me with neat stuff such as tide levels."

"sometimes the predictions are vague and could apply to anyone but some are correct"

"i disagree that astrology will be able to accurately predict anything in my life. the alignment of stars has nothing to do with time or predictions."

"I think that it can predict some things, but not all."

"I believe that astrology cant predict anything about my future. It has nothing to do with who I meet or the way I make decisions."

"I think astrologists do make accurate predictions but they are more so based off of trends. If there is a pattern seen within a group of people then it can be predicted, but at the same time there is never an explanation for it. Thus the reason I stand neutral is exactly that these trends aren't necessarily valid because there is no explanation for why these trends happen..."

"I don't believe in astrology because over time the zodiac signs have changed and I think this shows how inaccurate it is."

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1 comment:

Patrick M. Len said...

Student's t-Test: Results

The results of an unpaired t-test performed at 16:13 on 1-JUN-2012
t= 1.15
sdev= 0.921
degrees of freedom = 91 The probability of this result, assuming the null hypothesis, is 0.25

Group A: Number of items= 50
1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00
Mean = 2.50
95% confidence interval for Mean: 2.241 thru 2.759
Standard Deviation = 0.909
Hi = 4.00 Low = 1.00
Median = 2.50
Average Absolute Deviation from Median = 0.780

Group B: Number of items= 43
1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00
Mean = 2.28
95% confidence interval for Mean: 2.000 thru 2.558
Standard Deviation = 0.934
Hi = 4.00 Low = 1.00
Median = 2.00
Average Absolute Deviation from Median = 0.698

Data Reference: 1027