Choosing One’s Battles
I went to a hookah bar in Arlington last night to hang out with two friends and enjoy the legal indoor smoking in the Commonwealth. We were also joined by two others who were friends with my folks, but who I had never previously met. Chatting with one of them, I mentioned that my birthday was only a week away. This revelation led to the following conversation:
Her: So you’re an Aries?
Me: Yeah, I guess, but I don’t believe in astrology.
Her: You know that means…[vague and universal predictions about my personality]
Me: But I don’t believe in astrology!
Her: Well I do! And it’s very important to me!
At which point I dropped my objections and she continued to “analyze” the others at the table based on their astrological signs.
My actions were in the best interests of social harmony last night, to be sure, but I’m still not really sure if I made the right decision. As a skeptic, shouldn’t I be combating woo wherever I find it? Surely she, a true believer, wouldn’t be swayed by anything I said, but perhaps it would have given the others something to ponder. And if I can’t debunk something as obviously stupid as astrology, what good am I anyway?
However, I’m also thinking that a protracted squabble over astrology wouldn’t have changed anyone’s mind and would have simply ruined the evening. If that’s true, I definitely made the right call.
So what say you, Internet? Was I right in not confronting astrology head on, or should I have been more forceful in the service of anti-bullshit? Have you had similar experiences, and if so did you react in a similar fashion? I know that one of my old high school classmates is a homeopath now, so I should probably figure this out before I run into her again.