In reality, the New York Times is a billion dollar media company, and to keep the lights on they must sell what their demographic buys; and their demographic is overwhelmingly anti-GMO and pro-astrology; they are anti-Republican and pro-Democrat. They are anti-natural gas and pro-acupuncture.
This one was a woo trifecta. Tiny sample size and acupuncture "proved" using fMRI pictures of brains.
I could go on but the list of unscientific beliefs that are more strongly held by the demographic they appeal to, from trust in psychics to belief in UFOs and ghosts, is so much longer we run out of opposing sides and I feel like I am bullying their audience.(1)
Wherein we are treated to "I turned to Pati Carlson, an astrocartographer. Ms. Carlson uses a series of mapping techniques, designed by the astrologer Jim Lewis in the late 1970s, to create a mesmerizing crisscross of sine waves or curves, each representing a planet — plus the sun and moon — sprouting from one’s birthplace" followed by a bunch of other mystical mumbo-jumbo.
Pro-science readers shouldn't be surprised when New York Times journalists fawn over the Turkish government the month a giant 12-oage Turkey tourism spread appears, for the same reason they shouldn't be surprised the New York Times has a 'maybe there is something to it' article about astrology.(2)
They're a media company, they are there to sell pages and ads for you to read, not to educate you. if you are not willing to believe in astrology, you are a minority among their subscriber base.
That your astrological sign is different if you are born in a different part of the world, yet the personality traits of your new sign still sound remarkably like you, doesn't matter, because there is no science to feeling liberal guilt about a global-warming induced fire in your city and getting a swami to help you choose a new city based on when you were born.
The article is simply a way to make money. Their readers will either get what they desire to read or they will go somewhere else. And what they mostly want to read is woo.
That's not to say there is no science there. They have some fine writers and every Tuesday, the paper checks off the boxes by writing about unusually bland findings. They have done some quality journalism as well. Their journalists would be unwise to complain about the astrology articles that pay the bills.
I got a Farmer's Almanac as a gift a few years ago and next to a science article about weather patterns was astrological predictions and I wrote the scientist to ask if it was strange appearing in there when they published woo too. Her reply was entirely sensible; if she didn't write, all that would remain was the woo. So we have to hope that interspersed among the astrology and acupuncture and demagoguery NYT readers will get some actual science here and there.
(1) Obviously Republicans have their own issues. They deny evolution 9 percent more than Democrats, and some Republicans think man-made climate change can be done on other planets but can't be happening here.
The Senator deleted the tweet but nothing ever really disappears from the Internet.
(2) They are paying writers who match the beliefs of their audience, so the journalists they hire will have already demonstrated a willingness to believe Center for Science in the Public Interest are consumer advocates rather than lawyers who sue over everything to get settlements and that biology is a Vast Corporate Conspiracy. That marine ecologists are experts on natural gas and that computer scientists are experts on solar power.
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