Numerology, the study of numbers having meaning in our lives, has been around for thousands of years – as early as 300AD.
The fact that countless people still choose to study it or let it guide their decisions suggests that there’s some truth and accuracy to the practice.
But Numerology has many nay-sayers too. It is believed by some to be a pseudoscience.
Why is Numerology Considered a Pseudoscience?
Pseudoscience refers to a set of statements, practices, or beliefs that don’t actually follow the scientific method, though they claim to be scientific and factual.
The scientific method is a process that has been around for thousands of years. It involves making an observation, researching the topic, creating a hypothesis, experimenting, collecting data, analyzing that data, and coming to a conclusion.
Studies using the scientific method are usually very rigid to make sure no data is misrepresented or misinterpreted.
It can be hard to apply to experiments that aren’t physically in front of the observer, so it makes sense why something like Numerology – which would require literal lifetimes of study and observation – is hard to qualify.
The list of supposed pseudosciences also includes many disciplines that are definitely actual sciences, but hard to qualify using the scientific method.
For example – astronomy, the study of stars and planets, is thought to be a pseudoscience. Specific events are controversial and thought by conspiracy theorists to have never happened.
The Apollo moon landing is one – despite having video, photo, and physical sample evidence of the event. Astrology goes hand in hand with this one, referring to the relationship between a person’s birth date and the cosmos.
However there are definitely real pseudosciences out there. Conversion therapy, which focuses on therapy used to change an individual’s sexual orientation, was long believed to be not only based in science but incredibly effective.
It is now a very controversial subject and, for the most part, no longer used.
In general, pseudosciences have to do with that which can not yet be comprehended by humanity. Perhaps we haven’t found the right path to study it or get results; maybe we just aren’t good at it yet.
Or maybe we don’t have a deep enough understanding of the world around us.
Ironically, many things considered to be pseudoscience work to help us get that deeper understanding and reach a kind of enlightenment.
Who Supports Numerology?
While it’s hard to prove using the scientific method that Numerology is an accurate science, this discipline has a fair amount of influential supporters.
First and foremost, the legendary mathematician and supposed founder of Numerology, Pythagoras. The Greek philosopher used Numerology to predict people’s fates.
He believed in souls, the movement of planets according to mathematics, and numeric relationships in sound and music. Many of his theories have been proven – so why should he be so off the mark with his belief in Numerology?
In more modern times, celebrities including Price, Winona Rider, and Cat Stevens all believe in the ability to interpret people, events, and the future using numbers.
Even if you’re not 100% convinced that Numerology is a real science, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t at least slightly superstitious when it comes to numbers. Unlucky numbers, lucky numbers, signs from the universe to turn away or pursue.
Of course, Numerology explains why these superstitions exist. But there must be a reason that people are so attracted to numbers and their patterns.
As we tend to think we’re the smartest species on the planet, it’s easy to forget that we don’t necessarily know everything yet.
It wasn’t too long ago, after all, that people thought the world was flat, or that the planets revolved around the Earth and not the sun.
Pseudoscience and Numerology
The biggest argument against Numerology being an actual science is the fact that it can’t be qualified using the scientific method.
We can mark up a possible method based on Numerology:
- Observation/Purpose: To reveal if Numerological data is accurate and can make predictions about an individual and their life.
- Research: Basically the first part of this article; a history of Numerology, its supporters, arguments against it, etc.
- Hypothesis: Numerical data gathered from Numerology has a direct relationship on predicting the traits, life, and future of an individual.
- Experimenting: Using a variety of Numerologic methods and disciplines, create data on certain individuals between set ages.
- Collecting Data: Compare Numerologic predictions to events/the individual/their life.
Of course, data analysis and conclusion come after this, meaning that after literal lifetimes of studies on most likely hundreds of individuals, it would be possible to determine whether or not Numerology is actually a science.
This is where the hard part comes in – it’s possible to have professional numerologists create readings for a group of individuals, and to follow them throughout their lives, but there would be no way to control outside influences.
There would be no way to prove that an event or trait was linked to Numerology and not another influence or the placebo effect.
That doesn’t stop people from stating that Numerology changed their lives, gave them a better understanding of themselves, or gave them direction!
The Placebo Effect – Good or Bad?
You might be familiar with the term placebo effect, which refers to a beneficial effect produced by a placebo (fake) drug or therapy.
This often comes up when talking about medication and control groups for medical testing. Anyone given a sugar pill could have their symptoms miraculously subside – even if the sugar pill medically did nothing.
The placebo effect and selective thinking go hand in hand, and some critics of Numerology use it as an example of how this practice is fake.
But if something has beneficial results, does it matter whether or not it was “real” (as defined by fallible humans)?
For example, if you get a full reading from a numerologist, you will probably notice immediately traits or facts that do seem intimately connected to you. You are stubborn. You are attentive to details. You do lack a desire for social interaction, etc.
Selective thinking implies that you’re only paying attention to the parts of this reading that apply to you. You’re ignoring other traits that have nothing to do with you; for example, you’re not argumentative. You don’t have a lot of the arts.
But one of the benefits of Numerology, extolled by many clients, is that it provides direction in their lives. Having a reading done can result in realizing what your weaknesses are and being willing to overcome them.
In summary, while Numerology can’t exactly be proven by the scientific method yet and therefore accepted by the scientific community, it absolutely does have benefits.
Despite being labeled a pseudoscience, Numerology can reinforce things that you might need to hear. It forces you to pay attention to your surroundings, your needs, and your strengths.
Many things in the universe can be explained with mathematical formulas – why not us?
And in the end it’s hard to ignore that humanity has always had a close relationship and fascination with numbers.
We recognize and sense patterns; we become aware of numbers that seem like bad omens, based on previous experiences, which makes things very real.
We have lucky numbers that make us feel safe enough to move forward with life-changing decisions.
Just because we haven’t been able to prove beyond a doubt that Numerology is an exact science doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have benefits and serve a purpose.
If that was the case, it would not have made it thousands of years with so many people willing to explore it and advocate for it.
Still questioning whether or not you believe in this discipline?
Take a chance and try out a small reading today. See if the information revealed opens your mind and your eyes to the possibilities.