A few weeks back I noted that the “Please Save Pluto” petition web page was full of rather unpleasant entries. Laurel Kornfeld stressed that there is a somewhat saner “save Pluto” website and has since emailed me privately to let me know that the Please Save Pluto site has now been cleaned up. Course, the intellectual analysis is just as deep as before … but thats Web 2.0 for you. I really like this one :
1849. Adam Cardon | August 9th, 2007 at 1:02 am
I cannot believe that those dum-dums said that pluto is not a planet!! I for one am so angry that I wrote to the president of the united states of america and he said he would get back to me on it. so dont worry everyone. Pluto will be a planet again soon.
Oh crikey. Everything is going horribly wrong for Bush and he could do with a popular victory. Is he going to make the IAU an offer it can’t refuse ????
I cannot believe that those dum-dums said that pluto is not a planet!! I for one am so angry that I wrote to the president of the united states of america and he said he would get back to me on it. so dont worry everyone. Pluto will be a planet again soon. :))
I’m still waiting for you to quote one of the many comments on these various sites in favor of Pluto’s planethood that IS based on strong intellectual analysis. There are many from which you can choose. Of course, that might give some credence to the argument for reversing the IAU decision, which you obviously don’t want to see.
I don’t have much faith in George W. Bush on anything, but I do believe the reasons for reinstating Pluto’s planet status are sound, and that the IAU’s decision will in fact be reversed. At the same time, I question why the IAU should be THE determining authority on this at all, as there are many professional astronomers who are not even IAU members, and the IAU’s skills in reaching a decision leave a lot to be desired, as illustrated by the fact that 96 percent of its members did NOT have the chance to vote on this issue.
Laurel – my personal opinion is that there is no need for an official definition of what is a “planet” or not at all – it makes no scientific difference. So I actually agree with the spirit of most of the public opinion, and have no problem with the public at large thinking of Pluto as a planet. Fine. But your stance is even worse. You are insisting that there SHOULD be a definition, and that it MUST be designed to include Pluto (but not the eight sqillion Plutoids on the way…) And you want to change the rules of the IAU because you don’t agree with one specific decision ? And sling mud about its “decision making skills” ??
I don’t think I ever insisted that there should be a definition of the term “planet.” That was the IAU’s doing. I would have preferred they leave well enough alone. My point is that IF there is to be an official definition of “planet,” it should be as broad and inclusive as possible–not specifically for Pluto, but for all objects that have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium. Pluto, Eris and several of the other large KBOs that have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium are clearly different from the plutinos, smaller KBOs, or “plutoids,” as you call them, and not acknowledging this is misleading.
As for changing the rules of the IAU, I think this particular decision brought out the inherent weaknesses of its decision making process. There is absolutely no reason for not allowing absentee or electronic voting in the digital age for all decisions the group makes. Hopefully, doing this will increase participation in IAU voting significantly from the meager four percent that voted in 2006.
[…] and how Laurel Kornfeld has been vigorous in responding to his various posts. Gee I thought it was just me; but the comments made me realise it was others too. Laurel, where do you find the time ? […]