Wednesday, May 9, 2018

#2011: Susan Miller

It hardly needs repeating but we’ll repeat it nonetheless: astrology is hilariously stupid bullshit, people who believe in it profoundly critical thinking-challenged (it’s actually been thoroughly tested), and astrologers themselves either frauds or delusional cranks whose inability to navigate reality in a reason-based way should make one concerned for their ability to maintain their own welfare. Susan Miller presumably belongs in the latter category. Miller has a business degree from NYU, and has lately done pretty well for herself as an astrologer – enough so to receive coverage in Business Insider. According to Jezebel, “Susan Miller is the unrivaled Queen of Astrology. She is known for her affable delivery, her reverence in the world of fashion and, most importantly, her accurate horoscope forecasts which she publishes monthly to her site” Jezebel did little to measure the accuracy of the vague, general and hedged claims that comprise Miller’s forecasts – it wasn’t that kind of article – but apparently a lot of delusional nitwits do rely on her horoscopes.

As Miller perceives things, “[w]hat I do is scientific. Astrology involves careful methods learned over years and years of training and experience,” which, of course, is not a mark of whether what you do counts as scientific although it is telling that Miller thinks so. “There are so many things we don’t understand in the world,” continues Miller: “What if 200 years ago someone had said that these metal barrels in the sky would get us around the world in a few hours? Or that we’d inject ourselves with mold to treat illnesses? People are so skeptical.” Note that these claims (astrology relies on “things we don’t understand”) sort of directly contradict her claim that what she does is scientific. It is also interesting that astrologers like Miller admit that they do not know how it works (it doesn’t), since we – the rest of us – do know quite a bit about why astrology might seems to work to people with little background in critical thinking. According to Miller, she is “getting my information from NASA, doing math and geometry, and I know how to interpret the results.” The crucial word here probably being “interpret”. A good example of the silliness is here.

Diagnosis: We choose to assume that Miller is a snowflake without a shred of critical thinking abilities. At least that description is rather obviously true of her many fans. There are alternative interpretations that fit the data, too.

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