Post by Michael Cole
When I said “cast a vote” I just meant express your scientific opinion.
And science does require not just understanding nature, but formulating our
understanding of nature in categories that better organize our understanding.
Pluto does what it does whether or not we call it a planet. The question is
which definition is more humanly convenient.
Pluto is just a large ball of rock, ices and metals. “scientific opinion”
is pretty much an oxymoron in this sort of case. Calling something a planet,
dwarf planet, astroid, comet, etc., is just for human convenience and
oftentimes pretty damned silly: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto (planets
named after various gods) ... and Dirt. We named out own planet after dirt,
earth. Even “Terra” means “dirt.” Really we should have at least
called it “damp earth,” that would at least be a bit closer to reality.
Forget about what we call Pluto, we let it keep its name, get started on
renaming our planet to something less prosaic than “dirt.”
Believe me, I am giving your question/statement all the seriousness it
deserves, which is complete seriousness, both in reading your post and in
answering it. I am not snarking, though it may seem like I am. If some
professional astronomer where to ask me the same question, I would respond
exactly the same. (I would also question their sanity.)
Harry F. Leopold
The Prints of Darkness (remove gene to email)
“I was raised Southern Baptist, brat; I cut my eyeteeth in the revival tent
circuit. I ate breakfast with all the saints, and know 'em by their first
names. I sweetened my cereal with brimstone and kept warm by hellfire on cold
winter mornings.“ - Kermit