CPE :: Lesson 17

LOS CURSOS DE INGLES GRATIS PREFERIDOS POR LOS HISPANOHABLANTES

 

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Reading and writing

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Comprehension

ACTIVITY 79: You are going to read a magazine article about astrology. After reading answer very briefly questions 1-10 according to the opinions given in the passage. Then check the alternative answers we provide you with.

ASTROLOGY TODAY

Vilified by science for three centuries, derided by philosophy, psychology, medicine, the law and every other orthodox branch of modern learning, astrology refuses to die. As we enter the space age it enjoys a popularity unmatched since the decline of Rome. Other superstitions withered away and died. The Flat Earth Society puts forth few convincing claims these days; its appeal is limited. Witches survive, but, like the Whooping Crane, receive rather more publicity than their number or significance justifies. Why then should astrology be so much with us?

Is its appeal purely that of wish fulfilment – as Freud would have it? Could it be ascribed entirely to man's (or woman's) eternal immunity to reason, and equally eternal susceptibility to humbug? Or is it possible – as Jung thought – that there might be something to it?
Most educated men dismiss the subject. How can distant planets affect our lives and characters? Is it not a biological fact that physical and mental traits are transmitted by heredity? And so on. But what proof actually exists to support the objections to astrology? How do astrologers answer, or pretend to answer, such objections? Is there any legitimate evidence in favour of astrology?

Just read the following two quotes:

"There is some evidence that supernovae can be a factor in epidemic diseases, as well as a possible major influence upon evolution. There is at least one sense in which our lives are influenced by the stars, even though we have freed ourselves from the superstition of astrology".
G. Maxwell Cade, Chief Research Engineer (Infra-red Devices).

"In the last few years some strange and inexplicable links appear to be emerging between lunar phase, rainfall, meteoric impact, magnetic storms and mental disturbances. It almost seems as though we are moving through a series of scientific fantasies to a proof of the ancient belief in the connection between the moon and lunacy".
Sir Bernard Lovell, Director of Jodrell Bank.

However foolish the astrology in the newspapers may appear, astrology is based upon the fundamental premise that celestial phenomena affect life and events on earth; the two quotes above – made by scientists, not by astrologers – suggest that such effects exist and are recognized. Particularly interesting is the statement by Sir Bernard Lovell, who only four years earlier, in his Reith Lectures, had declared that he looked upon astrological doctrines 'with amused contempt'.

Is it possible that the astrologers will have the last laugh after all? This question, after three centuries of rationalism, is suddenly a valid one. "There does not exist, it is true, a single immediate and decisive proof making the astrological error apparent", comments Paul Couderc, a French astronomer, whose hostility towards astrology blinds him to the illogic of talking of the 'astrological error' and the lack of proof of its erroneousness within the same sentence.

If astrology were dead and buried, there would be no need to exhume it. But in view of its current resurgence, a full scale inquiry would seem long past due. What has happened to that spirit of objective curiosity upon which science so prides itself? Surely, a society willing to spend billions to put tourists on the moon ought to be willing to spend a few million to study the effects of the moon on the man. Particularly since mounting evidence suggests that such effects exist.

Our dual purpose in writing this article has been to collect and correlate this evidence, and to analyse the prejudice against astrology. But before we discuss the case as it stands today, we must make an important distinction. To the credulous, the nonsense in the newspaper is astrology. Unfortunately, to the educated sceptic as well, the nonsense in the newspaper is astrology. Yet it ought not to take much reflection to realize that the astrology that engaged the minds of such men as Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, St Thomas Aquinas, Kepler and many others was an astrology of an entirely different order. To make this distinction clear we shall have to look closely into astrology's long history.

QUESTIONS 1-10

1.

Is astrology getting more or less popular?

 

2.

What is Freud's explanation for astrology?

 

3.

What is Jung's opinion of astrology?

 

4.

Name one piece of scientific evidence that the stars affect our lives.

 

5.

What influence does the moon have on life on earth?

 

6.

Why do we need an inquiry into astrology?

 

7.

How much would the inquiry cost?

 

8.

What are the aims of the article?

 

9.

Do the authors approve of newspaper astrology?

 

10.

How do they try to distinguish between two types of astrology?

 

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