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August 17, 2006

Is Pluto a planet?

A new scientific controversy provides us with yet another chance to take a look at the response of the 'scientific community' to the war on cannabis. As is usual with such comparisons, because the critical implication involves appreciating something which is NOT happening, it may be less than obvious to those with a casual interest; and easier for those with a vested interest to deny. 
In a nutshell, Pluto was discovered in 1930 at a time when scientific instrumentation and observations were more primitive than they are now. Interestingly, the respected astronomer who first described it is still alive and understandably don't want Pluto downgraded from its  planetary status. That's only one of several possibilities being considered by the International Astronomical Union now meeting in Prague. Because there are several other implications of what will clearly be an arbitrary decision, its ultimate impact will be more political than scientific–– yet still within Union's sole power to amend.

They are the features which beg comparison with the 'war' on drugs.

Also, since neither national governments nor various police agencies seem to have any stake in the outcome of the debate over Pluto,  the present discussion is a lot more honest and uninhibited than the endless wrangle over cannabis; and so far, at least, no tax supported federal agency has  seen fit to sponsor 'research' to influence it; nor has Congress, the White House, or the Supreme Court attempted to do so either.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 17, 2006 08:18 PM