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The Collective
Friday, August 25, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Pluto vote ‘hijacked’ in revolt

A fierce backlash has begun against the decision by astronomers to strip Pluto of its status as a planet. On Thursday, experts approved a definition of a planet that demoted Pluto to a lesser category of object.

But the lead scientist on Nasa’s robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it “embarrassing”.

And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been “hijacked”.

As a political scientist, I find all this open, public argument over the status of Pluto to be somewhat amusing, given that the hard sciences usually like to preen about their concise usage of language and the fact that they have empirically superior categories of classification.

The truth of the matter is: smart people like to argue about what words mean, and scientists of all stripes love to categorize things. Indeed, they often treat the definition and categorization of items with a zeal that borders on the religious at times.

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Filed under: Academia, Space | |

3 Comments

  1. agreed

    Comment by eric — Friday, August 25, 2006 @ 10:56 am

  2. I think the whole debate over Pluto is too overblown, because Pluto will remain as it is, even if the status of being a planet is not permited for Pluto.

    Thank you for sharing this story with me !

    Comment by Maria making pictures — Friday, August 25, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  3. […] A Revolting Development over Pluto […]

    Pingback by Blog @ Morewhat.com » Blog Archive » While You’re Waiting….. — Saturday, August 26, 2006 @ 1:13 am

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