Thursday, February 20, 2020

What's the profile of a person who believes astrology is scientific? (Answer: the exact opposite of me)

Clearly, anyone who believes that astrology is scientific doesn't understand what science is, but how common is this belief, and what's the statistical profile of a believer?

The General Social Survey asked respondents the question with answers varying from "very scientific" to "not scientific" at all (sample size = 5,548). 36.6% of people said astrology was at least sort of scientific. That's a lot of dummies.

Here are the factors that predict belief (standardized OLS coefficients):

Predictors of thinking that astrology is scientific

Female   .09
Black   .13
Other race    .04
Age   -.07
IQ   -.17
Educational level   -.11
Church attendance   -.04
Political conservatism   -.04

All of the coefficients are statistically significant at the p < .01 level (or higher, two-tailed test).  So the profile looks like this: female, black (vs. white), other race (vs. white), young, unintelligent, uneducated, non-churchgoer, and liberal. The coefficients indicate the strength of the prediction: IQ is the best predictor of thinking astrology is not scientific.


  1. Anonymous2:50 PM

    Do you correct for the imperfect correlation with IQ that the measurement(vocabulary?) has when you do these types of posts?

    1. No, but we can assume that an IQ measurement with less measurement error would be more strongly predictive than what we see in my analysis.

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