My take on Pluto

Well, if you've seen any news today, you've heard that Pluto has been demoted and is no longer a planet.  I say, Hooray.  From what I can tell, the only reason they were even considering keeping Pluto as a planet is simply the fact that it has been considered one for a long time.  As a general rule, I think the argument “but it's always been that way” is about the worst justification one can make in favor of something.  Think about all the practices we now consider quite odious that have essentially been supported with this line of thinking (our historical treatment of Blacks, women, and many other groups is a good start).  Based on what I've heard and read, the science is pretty clear that if Pluto were discovered today, it is highly unlikely it would be considered a planet.  Despite the media reports to the contrary, school children are plenty adaptable– they can handle learning that there's only 8 planets, not 9.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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