01 September 2006

Shout, shout, let it all out

I love scientific passion, so was actually pleased to read this description (in this week's Science) about the debate about Pluto's status as a planet:

To Gingerich’s argument that the proposal rested on physical criteria, asteroid researcher Andrea Milani of the University of Pisa in Italy, literally screamed, “Dynamics is not physics?” Other astronomers protested the committee's neglect of extrasolar planets, only to be angrily silenced by outgoing IAU President Ronald D. Ekers, who declared such issues to be “out of order!”

Of course, maybe that is a little over the top, but I don't know if I completely agree with this:

“It should never have become this emotional,” says astronomer George Miley of Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Sometimes I think scientists need to be more emotionally involved, demonstrably so. It’s not like cold rational arguments have made a heck of a lot of headway against people denying global warming or evolution or other scientific matters.

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