Indian court rules astrology is a science

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Snuckles
Indian court rules astrology is a science

Quote:
MUMBAI: Astrology has been debunked by most world scientists including India's renowned physicist Prof. Yash Pal. However, it is "science" in India.

The Bombay High Court reaffirmed this on Thursday when it dismissed a PIL that had challenged astrology as science.

The PIL was filed by an NGO, Janhit Manch that had sought action against 'fake' astrologers, tantriks, practitioners of Vastu shastra etc.

"So far as prayer related to astrology is concerned, the Supreme Court has already considered the issue and ruled that astrology is science. The court had in 2004 also directed the universities to consider if astrology science can be added to the syllabus. The decision of the apex court is binding on this court," observed the judges.

The judges also took on record an affidavit submitted by the Union government. The Centre had in its affidavit stated that astrology is 4000 years old 'trusted science' and the same does not fall under the preview of The Drugs and Megical Remedies Act (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

Read it [url=http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Astrology-is-a-science-Bombay-H....

Caissa

Never heard of the scientfic method, I guess.

Sineed

Reminds me of the ongoing dispute in Britain to get homeopathy delisted for reimbursement.  One of the defences of homeopathy was that it was English traditional medicine and an integral part of British culture, prompting one MP to quip that in that case, the National Health Service should cover witchcraft.

Snert Snert's picture

In North America, I'd think the last thing that astrology would want would be to get promoted to a science.  Right now their last line of defense is the disclaimer, in one point type, that says "For entertainment purposes only".

Astrologers in India better really bring their game now.  I'm imagining something along the lines of a malpractice suit.

6079_Smith_W

Not that I agree with the supreme court decision (I don't), but astrology and astronomy were one and the same thing until about the 1500s. So while the divination aspect is non-scientific, there is a large part of it which is completely legitimate and is in fact the foundation for modern astronomy.

Also, if I understand the article correctly the meat of this story is the court dismissing an attempt to ban all advertising for astrology and divination. In their dismissal they cited a 2004 Supreme Court decision recognizing astrology as a science. 

It is a badly-written article, since the lede is right at the bottom.

Frankly I think both positions - the proposed ban and the proclamation as a science - are overreactions. So I think the court decision in this story is a good one, their legal argument notwithstanding.

Searosia

For what it's worth, this is legislation in South Dakota regarding their stance on climate change theory:

 

Quote:

2) That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative;


They are quite right that any interrelativity between astrology and other sciences is largely speculative atleast

wage zombie

Remember that "science" has been around a lot longer than "the scientific method", and Indian culture is very old.  Philosophy was at one point considered a science, with what we think of as "science" today being a sub category of knowledge/science.

I don't think astrology employs the scientific method, but given cultural and linguistic differences, I don't think that's what they're necessarily saying.

jas

Good point, wz.

Hopefully this will teach Janhit Manch, many of whose members consider themselves "social crusaders", to keep their focus on more worthy causes and not tie up the courts with frivolous litigation.

Unionist

India isn't the only country in the world whose courts can't tell shit from shinola.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Seems to me the question is how does one define "science." Is it merely things like gravity or is the study of theories like the big bang theory or parallel universes  and worm holes.  Most quantum mechanics is "provable" only in abstract mathematical terms. Seems to me that "science" uses the same techniques as astrology to predict things it doesn't quite understand. 

GOD

I think I'll rearrange a couple of constellations, just to watch the fun.

Maysie Maysie's picture

GOD, that's strike two.

One more and you're banned.

Oooh the power.

Fidel

wage zombie wrote:
Philosophy was at one point considered a science, with what we think of as "science" today being a sub category of knowledge/science.

I think philosophy is still condidered an important part of science regardless of what scientists say about it. During the enlightenment, scientists began anew in their thinking. They decided that instead of holding on to old maxims, the new age scientists would begin  to question everything and leave nothing to faith. I've just re-read William of Ockham's 14th century philosophy on scientific discovery, and it actually means something other than what I thought it does. Wiki states about Occam's razor: "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity. IOW's, scientists should tend to choose simpler theories, but in doing so, simpler theories tend to be less descriptive and sometimes less accurate than more detailed or the more complex theory.

 Beginning with scientists at turn of the last century Bohr,Einstein, Heisenberg etc, the new science was born. Newtonian atomic theory was overthrown in favor of the more complex quantum theory of the very small and with Einsteinian theory of very large measures. It marked a re-birth of scientific inquiry.

 And today there is yet another re-birth of science. The standard model of the universe is still a sturdy theory, but it lacks a lot according to modern day theoretical physicists and to the dismay of standard model theorists everywhere. With every new particle they discover, more numbers are added to an unwieldly equation. Today there is  [url=http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/10/20/us-science-cern-idUSTRE69J35X2... new physics[/url] which says an even more elegant equation than the standard model must exist. One famous American standard model theorist says it appears as though what used to be considered in the realm of the metaphysical might very well become established laws of nature. It might be that the next 5, 10, or 15 years will tell all.

6079_Smith_W

Searosia wrote:

For what it's worth, this is legislation in South Dakota regarding their stance on climate change theory:

 

Quote:

2) That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative;

They are quite right that any interrelativity between astrology and other sciences is largely speculative atleast


I saw a similar error once where "necrophilia" was mistakenly used instead of "necromancy".

I do find it odd that most of the international coverage of this is just ridicule. It wouldn't have been that hard to do a bit of legwork to see if there are differences between Indian Astrology and it's place in their society and the horoscopes we see in our newspapers/
As I said, I don't agree with their supreme court decision, but even so, I find the reaction in a lot of media to be lazy, reactionary and eurocentric. I have been looking, and I have yet to find any coverage that tries to bridge the gulf of understanding rather than treating this like a freakshow. I'd be very interested to know why the Supreme Court came to the decision they did; I presume they are not stupid people. Unfortunately western journalists are too busy snickering to ask that question.

It bugs me because this is one area where the line between science and belief is not all that clear. particularly if you look at it in a historical context. And speaking as someone who plants and harvests by the moon, it's not all that clear cut in other areas either.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Maysie wrote:

GOD, that's strike two.

One more and you're banned.

Oooh the power.

Please be careful Maysie, I don't want you turned into a pillar of salt.

Fidel

God's not vengeful. She loves us whatever we do. Kinda like our real mamas.

Searosia

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I saw a similar error once where "necrophilia" was mistakenly used instead of "necromancy".
...
It bugs me because this is one area where the line between science and belief is not all that clear.


This astrology reference wasn't an error sadly.
The problem with astrology is it is infact based on science. The Earth has a relatively well known wobble cycle that spans 22600 or so years and the signs of the zodiak correctly line-up with this wobble (Dawning of the age of Aquarius is a direct reference to this cycle). Unfortunately, the cycle changes and the signs we know have been out of whack for about 3000 years now as the earth followed it's wobble cycle. This is infact a decently hard science when it comes to it...somewhat like how mathematics is a hard science while numerology is not. That numerology is not a science while mathematic is, is decently well understood....unfortunately the science behind astrology is less understood than the horoscopes they've been (incorrectly) producing for years and years are.
Incidentally, we're about to hit the alignment where a straight line from earth through the sun would extend to the center of the milky way galaxy (thats the 0 marker in time that the Mayan's picked out for the 2012 ending).

500_Apples

Searosia wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I saw a similar error once where "necrophilia" was mistakenly used instead of "necromancy".
...
It bugs me because this is one area where the line between science and belief is not all that clear.


This astrology reference wasn't an error sadly.
The problem with astrology is it is infact based on science. The Earth has a relatively well known wobble cycle that spans 22600 or so years and the signs of the zodiak correctly line-up with this wobble (Dawning of the age of Aquarius is a direct reference to this cycle). Unfortunately, the cycle changes and the signs we know have been out of whack for about 3000 years now as the earth followed it's wobble cycle. This is infact a decently hard science when it comes to it...somewhat like how mathematics is a hard science while numerology is not. That numerology is not a science while mathematic is, is decently well understood....unfortunately the science behind astrology is less understood than the horoscopes they've been (incorrectly) producing for years and years are.
Incidentally, we're about to hit the alignment where a straight line from earth through the sun would extend to the center of the milky way galaxy (thats the 0 marker in time that the Mayan's picked out for the 2012 ending).

[IMG]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_YrPYdF8GWlk/SlueJ7i8WlI/AAAAAAAAAAs/9N6M0q9KjX...

Reality check:
1) Astrometry (measuring and understanding the positions of the stars) is a science, astrology (using the stars to determine our hormones) is not a science.
2) Mathematics is more of an art than a science. They use science, and scientists use mathematics, but mathematics is not quite a science.
3) Our galaxy is a complex, dynamic and evolving object and there is now single point that constitutes the "center of the milky way galaxy".

Searosia

Meh, I missed the term.  Astrology is semi-based on a science called astrometry.  Happy Apples?

2 - Ya I know, math is logic or art before it's a science.  I was more going for the relation of Mathematics vs numerology where we understand math more than the numerology nonsense compared to astrometry vs astrology where we (in my opinion) seem to have more awareness of astrology then we do astrometry.  Make sense, or are comparrisons drowned out by symantics for you?

3 - There is a center...a point that all the milky way swirls around is percievable from earth (from a telescope orbitting earth, we can pretty confidently say there's 2 super massive black holes spinning around each other sending distortions in time and space through the universe sitting there too).  We're decently confident that the majority of galaxies possess the same center (though not all have dual black holes)...well, atleast discovery channel is. 

6079_Smith_W

Much of the scientific work that modern astronomy is based on was done by astrologers - the mapping of the heavens, discovery of the ecliptic, charting and predicting planetary motion,  conjunctions, transits and eclipses, and recording nova and comet events.

One of the most important astronomers ever - Charles Messier - started his catalogue of nebulae and galaxies because of his main work on the astrological significance of comets.

Kepler and Copernicus would not have had the groundwork to make their scientific discoveries without the groundwork of astrologers who came before them, and spent their time doing a lot more real scientific work than they did reading tea leaves.

That's why it offends me that people can dismiss science as superstitious nonsense just because when they hear the word astrology they think "horoscopes".  There is more than a bit of misconception and unfounded belief on both sides, IMO. In particular, I think the media did a great disservice by just treating this as a joke.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So 500Apples

Is quantum physics a science?  Are theories like the big bang and other competing theories for the "start" of the universe really science?  Are they also not merely mathematics being applied to produce prediction theories?  Like astrology I agree with quantum physics right up to the point where I have to believe in the prediction then I get skeptical.

500_Apples

Searosia wrote:

Meh, I missed the term.  Astrology is semi-based on a science called astrometry.  Happy Apples?

2 - Ya I know, math is logic or art before it's a science.  I was more going for the relation of Mathematics vs numerology where we understand math more than the numerology nonsense compared to astrometry vs astrology where we (in my opinion) seem to have more awareness of astrology then we do astrometry.  Make sense, or are comparrisons drowned out by symantics for you?

3 - There is a center...a point that all the milky way swirls around is percievable from earth (from a telescope orbitting earth, we can pretty confidently say there's 2 super massive black holes spinning around each other sending distortions in time and space through the universe sitting there too).  We're decently confident that the majority of galaxies possess the same center (though not all have dual black holes)...well, atleast discovery channel is. 

1) The difference between astrology and astrometry is not "semantics", just like the difference between numerology and arithmetic is not semantics.

2) "The Galactic center" refers to a region, not to an infinitely precise point. There is one supermassive black hole in that area, not 2 (not sure how you invented that one), and there's no reason to believe that it is at exactly the center of this galaxy as many have galaxies have supermassive black holes displaced from the centers of their disk.

In general, when somebody makes statements of infinite precision such as "On december 2012 there will be a straight line connecting the Earth, sun and galactic center" when dealing with hazy, fuzzy things like our galaxy, my bullshit meter goes off.

500_Apples

kropotkin1951 wrote:

So 500Apples

Is quantum physics a science?  Are theories like the big bang and other competing theories for the "start" of the universe really science?  Are they also not merely mathematics being applied to produce prediction theories?  Like astrology I agree with quantum physics right up to the point where I have to believe in the prediction then I get skeptical.

Quantum mechanics is the most empirically verified scientific theory of all time. You verify quantum mechanics every time you use a computer, everytime you use a television, every time you get an X-ray, whenever you take a digital photograph, et cetera.

You can also try to construct a digital camera based on the principles of astrology. The difference is that the camera won't work in that case.

It is not merely mathematics. It is a series of mathematical axioms that allowed early 20th century physicists to accurately describe a huge range of phenomena, and extrapolations of these mathematics have yielded testable and verified predictions.

Fidel

And how many galaxies are there? Does anybody really know? With expansion, are there not some galaxies that are out of range of our most sensitive telescopes? Apparently in a just a few hundred billion years, we won't have any visible neighboring galaxies to refer to.

Searosia

I think you're right Smith...the only thing I can think of adding to it is to remember the frame of mind people were in at the time.  Without mass city lights and adherence to an atomic scale clock/calendar of today, the world was dependant on stars for time...and nearly anyone can look up and be awed at the sight.  We take for granted this stars/planets mindset that we now have, distant and ancient lights shining down on us...when they were once god(s) eyes looking down upon us.  That lack of differentation between stars and god(s) or fate has an impact on early astronomy.

This topic though has more to do with whether or not astrology based remedies can be advertised as remedies...the ruling of astrology = science means that companies can actively advertise products and their 'positive effects' based on astrology.  Buyer beware? 

wage zombie

500_Apples wrote:

You can also try to construct a digital camera based on the principles of astrology. The difference is that the camera won't work in that case.

How about constructing a digital camera based on the principles of geology?  Is that camera going to work?  I'm not really sure how much of a point you're making here.

Searosia

apples, update your science...

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/12/image-of-the-day-galactic-two-headed-monster-binary-supermassive-black-holes-discovered-common-in-un.html
 
 

Quote:
Astronomers expect there to be many such waltzing supermassive black holes in the Universe, but until recently only a handful had been found. Dr. Comerford and her colleagues announce the discoveries of 33 new pairs of waltzing supermassive black holes, which help alleviate the discrepancy between the expected and observed numbers of black hole pairs.

It's a recent find...two black holes orbit each other in a pattern that replicates elementary particles bevhaviour. We can detect them by a doppler effect apparently. Your statement that they have one and sometimes displaced from the center is true, but false for the milky way...single displaced is a rarity compared to dual core centers.
Quote:

In general, when somebody makes statements of infinite precision such as "On december 2012 there will be a straight line connecting the Earth, sun and galactic center" when dealing with hazy, fuzzy things like our galaxy, my bullshit meter goes off.


I only referred to 2012, not december...you've added the inifnate prescision for me then critisized me on it...good job. Nostradamous and Mayans both picked this date out from their astronomical observations (not me) and this line is what they were basing it on. Incidentally when you said "searosia can invent things for me to say" I entirely agree with you. Poor tactic :( When did you become an asshole?, I remember a time where you'd care for a discussion.
fidel wrote:
And how many galaxies are there? Does anybody really know?

Hundreds of millions is a general estimate...though the number we can see isn't very large. Very distant ones we're actually seeing light that originated from not far off the big bang, so we're able to gain alot of knowledge on the begining of the universe from the light of these ancient galaxies. And we're not moving away from all galaxies, The Milky way is actually on a collision course with adromeda right now...we'll hit it in a good 3 billion years. Current theory = dark energy will tear apart the bonds of particles before our milky way is that far from any other galaxy.

Searosia

500_Apples wrote:
1) The difference between astrology and astrometry is not "semantics", just like the difference between numerology and arithmetic is not semantics. 

Are you intentionally being thick?  I get the feeling something set you off and you haven't bothered reading a word in anyones posts since.  There is more understanding behind mathematics than there is for numerology, which is opposite of astrology where it seems more people 'understand' the crap (astrology) than the science (astronomy/astrometry).  Going to stick on this symantics for a third time, or will you finally understand the comparrison?

500_Apples

Searosia wrote:

apples, update your science...

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/12/image-of-the-day-galactic-two-headed-monster-binary-supermassive-black-holes-discovered-common-in-un.html
 
 

Quote:
Astronomers expect there to be many such waltzing supermassive black holes in the Universe, but until recently only a handful had been found. Dr. Comerford and her colleagues announce the discoveries of 33 new pairs of waltzing supermassive black holes, which help alleviate the discrepancy between the expected and observed numbers of black hole pairs.

It's a recent find...two black holes orbit each other in a pattern that replicates elementary particles bevhaviour. We can detect them by a doppler effect apparently. Your statement that they have one and sometimes displaced from the center is true, but false for the milky way...single displaced is a rarity compared to dual core centers.
Quote:

In general, when somebody makes statements of infinite precision such as "On december 2012 there will be a straight line connecting the Earth, sun and galactic center" when dealing with hazy, fuzzy things like our galaxy, my bullshit meter goes off.


I only referred to 2012, not december...you've added the inifnate prescision for me then critisized me on it...good job. Nostradamous and Mayans both picked this date out from their astronomical observations (not me) and this line is what they were basing it on. Incidentally when you said "searosia can invent things for me to say" I entirely agree with you. Poor tactic :( When did you become an asshole?, I remember a time where you'd care for a discussion.
fidel wrote:
And how many galaxies are there? Does anybody really know?

Hundreds of millions is a general estimate...though the number we can see isn't very large. Very distant ones we're actually seeing light that originated from not far off the big bang, so we're able to gain alot of knowledge on the begining of the universe from the light of these ancient galaxies. And we're not moving away from all galaxies, The Milky way is actually on a collision course with adromeda right now...we'll hit it in a good 3 billion years. Current theory = dark energy will tear apart the bonds of particles before our milky way is that far from any other galaxy.

1) Not one of the 33 discoveries in your link refers to the Milky Way. There are binary supermassive black hole, but not in this galaxy. That was something you invented out of ignorance and/or dishonesty.

2) I'm not an asshole, you're just throwing shit against the wall, it's annoying.

3) Hundreds of millions is not a general estimate. I've never seen that estimate anywhere, you may be confusing it with hundreds of billions.

4) Current theory is not that dark energy will tear apart elementary particles. That only happens in the case of the big rip. It's possible that the universe is like that, but the data does not support that conclusion right now.

500_Apples

wage zombie wrote:

500_Apples wrote:

You can also try to construct a digital camera based on the principles of astrology. The difference is that the camera won't work in that case.

How about constructing a digital camera based on the principles of geology?  Is that camera going to work?  I'm not really sure how much of a point you're making here.

The camera constructed on quantum mechanical principles does work. Every test of quantum mechanics works. That's the point, that QM is not just testable, but verified.

You can try and verify astrology. Even if they fix their star charts however, looking up what scoprio (or whatever sign you are) should be doing today won't lead you to make better decisions.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

500_Apples wrote:

It is not merely mathematics. It is a series of mathematical axioms that allowed early 20th century physicists to accurately describe a huge range of phenomena, and extrapolations of these mathematics have yielded testable and verified predictions.

I agree that the science is a very good mathematical model for predicting the actions of light and other waves and particles.  And that has been extremely useful in our modern electronics.  But IMO "verifiable prediction" is an oxymoron not a scientific concept.  To me the general theories of the universe are also at the heart of quantum physics and they are not verifiable but merely guesses bases on math.  I do not believe in astrology's ability to predict anything on an individual basis but I'll bet they can tell me when the next eclipse is.  I believe that quantum physics "knows" as much about the end of the universe as an astrologer knows about my personality. 

 

500_Apples

kropotkin1951 wrote:

500_Apples wrote:

It is not merely mathematics. It is a series of mathematical axioms that allowed early 20th century physicists to accurately describe a huge range of phenomena, and extrapolations of these mathematics have yielded testable and verified predictions.

I agree that the science is a very good mathematical model for predicting the actions of light and other waves and particles.  And that has been extremely useful in our modern electronics.  But IMO "verifiable prediction" is an oxymoron not a scientific concept.  To me the general theories of the universe are also at the heart of quantum physics and they are not verifiable but merely guesses bases on math.  I do not believe in astrology's ability to predict anything on an individual basis but I'll bet they can tell me when the next eclipse is.  I believe that quantum physics "knows" as much about the end of the universe as an astrologer knows about my personality. 

 

It's not an oxymoron, though in hindsight it may be a redundant use of language.

The big bang itself is not a prediction, however the big bang model does make a lot of predictions. What is the temperature of the CMB? What are the variations like in the temperature? How are galaxies and galaxy clusters distributed across the sky? What's the lowest density of helium we're ever going to find in the universe? What's the approximate mass of the dark matter particle? All of these questions (and dozens of others) have detailed answers that can be extracted from theory even though the actual "reality" is still up in the air, to various extents. There's no reason for example for helium to be never be much lower than 25% by mass in space, however that is what is observed in astronomy, and that is what the big bang theory predicts.

I would not say that the general theories of the universe are at the heart of quantum physics. I think it's the other way around. QM emerged in the 1920s (mostly), whereas modern cosmology dates to ~1960. If there was deep cloud cover over the Earth preventing us from ever studying the cosmos we would still be able to discover QM.

When an astrologer tells you when the next eclipse, he is extrapolating that which is already known on a very weak level. He would not, for example, be able to tell you somewhat more complicated things, such as the discovery of Neptune due to its effect on Uranus' orbit. A good scientific prediction yields a test that is extrapolated far outside the range of that which is already known. Discovering Neptune is an example of this, whereas telling you the date of the next eclipse is not.

Searosia

Decided to retry this.  Sometimes I need to realize my communication skills aren't the best.  But still think ya reacted like an asshole :P   Can I try again, hear me out this time?

 

Numerology is based in mathematics and a lil language.  It's not that hard to see what composes it and it's pretty easy to see how arbitrary it is on a few levels (I called math the 'science' numerology is based on, i really don't see how that symantic meant anything)...people know the 'science' behind it readily as language and math is infront of us daily.  Like numerology, astrology is arbitrarily semi-based on a hard science...but the hard science (planetary orbits and a wobble) isn't as readily known as mathematics is..  Makes astrology a little more mystical...especially when it was developed at a time when the stars were thought to be god(s) looking down from the heavens, which ties these stars to fate and who you are (imagine a mindset of a people that saw stars and were guided by them more frequently than the urban twilight much of the world sees now).  And they all watched...very different and unconnected peoples came to this "center of the galaxy alignment = end of world" conclusion.  The link to the stars with astrology is lost on us, yet a large number of people follow the system that hasn't really been accurate for 3000 or so years.  er...how about it's been inconsistent in it's arbitrary ways for 3000 years?  better words?  THe recent change of the signs is quite funny to me...hearing people say 'They cant do that'!!! is sort of an ultimate display of the disconnect between the astrology and the science it's semi-based from . sorry, arbitrarily semi-based from.

 

any symantics you can cherry pick from that, 500_assholes, or do you understand the point I'm (poorly trying to) get at?  and fyi, you're correct on the dual one here...somehow I went from the milky way having 2 blackholes in 3 billion years when it collides with andromeda to it having one now.  crossed wires on my part...in any case, the reference was towards several sky watchers in human history extrapulating from the stars and coming to this same 'alignment' not if the alignment actually could exist....to them it likely did exist, they couldn't see it to a resolution that would look any different than a central point.

 

You:

Quote:
In general, when somebody makes statements of infinite precision such as "On december 2012 there will be a straight line connecting the Earth, sun and galactic center" when dealing with hazy, fuzzy things like our galaxy, my bullshit meter goes off.

Me:

Quote:
I only referred to 2012, not december...you've added the inifnate prescision for me then critisized me on it...good job. Nostradamous and Mayans both picked this date out from their astronomical observations (not me) and this line is what they were basing it on. Incidentally when you said "searosia can invent things for me to say" I entirely agree with you. Poor tactic :( When did you become an asshole?

I'll submit again...you're not reading a word from me and flat out making up things you think I might be saying. Ergo, Asshole.

Mike Stirner

Astrology is more or less internally consistant, that's enough for me.

The scientific method is based on the weakest proof system there is, empirical proof, call me when you guys have isolated nessesity.

Papal Bull

Fun fact, if the centre of the universe is a finite, unmoving point then a straight line can always be drawn from the galactic centre point to the Earth. That's how lines work.