AnalogKid

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The Politics of Science – Whither Pluto?

I just keep hearing Mickey saying, “Pluto, here boy … Heh Heh!”

Politburo Diktat has a nice heading … “Trying to pigeonhole nature.” Exactly. This is exactly as arbitrary and capricious as most other categorizations in science. It is very difficult to be specific on a continuum.

For example, in the science of species identification, there is an arbitrary cut off between species-specific traits and individual traits. For example, I’m human and I have brown hair. There are a lot of brown haired humans. But they are not considered a different species than blonde-haired humans.

And to take it a small step further, as the science of genetic classification becomes more precise over time, shouldn’t there be a discussion about where you draw this line? This problem of classification is a big one if politics and science in toto are going to continue to make assertions about groups of things. As a Czech-German-Scots-Irish-English minority, I demand an investigation.

Anyway, this is no big deal – scientists like to get their name in the paper too. But this isn’t science, of course – only politics.

Update: Ace has good stuff …

“Firstly, it is impossible and contrived to put a dividing line between dwarf planets and planets. It’s as if we declared people not people for some arbitrary reason, like ‘they tend to live in groups’.

I’m telling you, the loose mechanics of the social sciences are affecting every area of speculation, and only a huge geek war will stop them.

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August 25, 2006 - Posted by | Philosophy of the Commons, Science

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