By Cindy Moy: On February 18, 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered a large chunk of ice and rock orbiting the sun. This chunk was categorized as a planet and named Pluto, after the Greek god of the underworld.
In the ensuing years, further study revealed Pluto to be one of several large chunks of rock and ice in the Kuiper belt.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted on the definition of ‘planet.’ Part of the planet test is that the object “must have cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.”
Pluto did not meet this definition, and therefore it was no longer a planet.
Except in New Mexico and Illinois. Those states disagreed with the IAU’s definition, and passed resolutions declaring that Pluto was indeed a planet in those states. (Tombaugh was born in Illinois and spent his adulthood in New Mexico. He is lauded as a hero in both states.)
Other scientists also cried foul at the IAU’s decision. Dr. Alan Stern, who has been involved with dozen of space missions, pointed out that Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune do not meet the IAU’s definition of a planet either, as they share their orbit with asteroids.
Let’s sum this up, shall we? Scientists who devote their lives to the study of planets do not agree on how to define ‘planet.’
Yet, they are taking votes on how to define what they are seeing in space, and these objects are being defined by a majority. What if the majority is wrong? What if the minority is vindicated 100 years from now?
Science–things we know for sure–is debunked regularly. We know the earth is not flat. We know gravity exists. Or do we?
If religion is faith, and science is fact, and scientists can not agree on the facts, then is science not, in fact, a form of faith?
How can we be confident in science, if the scientists do not agree?