Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Perception of Pluto

I mentioned earlier that I find this debate on Pluto's classification as being a planet or not as not being physically relevant and utterly superficial. I still think that way, but now a new report on this debate has at least given some legitimate reasons why there is such a debate in the first place.

Despite the debate, Sykes says Pluto isn't the real issue. The public's perception and understanding of science is far more important.

"The IAU damaged the public perception of science by the high-profile spectacle of imposing, by vote, a controversial definition of a commonly used term," Sykes said. "Too often, science is presented as lists of facts to be learned from authority, instead of the dynamic open-ended process that it really is. The IAU reinforced this misconception of science".

"The importance of the ongoing debate is that it provides an opportunity to show the public how science really works in an area of great interest," he added.

I certainly agree that science isn't just a matter of knowing a bunch of disconnected facts or ideas. This often is a misconception to many on what it means to have a knowledge of something and not just having an information about something. It is why I dislike Wikipedia. That is how one get bits and pieces of information, but not how one would learn a subject matter.

In any case, we will see how this Pluto issue resolves itself.


No comments: