Ich Bin Ein Plutonian!

The presidential candidates have scrapped the idea of a Science Debate. The good news is that it doesn’t matter, because the wonder of television allows them to debate any topic with each other without the annoyance of personal proximity. That being the case, I think it’s time the public started giving them some truly difficult science questions in campaign forums. The trick is to find the perfect hot button scientific/political issue to stoke the flames.

What topic did I have in mind? I’m glad you asked.

Scientific American has published an article recently about the continuing struggle to help “the Pluto formerly known as planet” to be welcomed back into the hierarchy of the solar family. Although it was demoted over a year ago, some die-hards are determined to restore the lofty status of a giant, frozen rock.

Why? Here’s their main reason:

“…to teach the public that science is a process of constant revision and refinement. ‘People should be exposed to that process,’ he says. ‘The IAU process gave the impression that science is done by a bunch of scientists voting behind closed doors.'”

In other words, we need to revisit this debate so that the good people of the world don’t think that astronomical definitions are made without an extensive democratic process. For Americans, nothing short of consent from the masses should be sufficient. A small, select group of individuals making permanent changes independent of the will of the people? That’s unprecedented.

I propose that we make this the top issue of the presidential debate. I especially encourage the good people of Pennsylvania to step up on this. Ask your favorite candidate where he or she stands on the Pluto Question.

Now, you may be one of the minority who think that this really isn’t an important topic at all. You may debate about whether or not it can even be called science. (By the way, if one were to place a stool on Pluto, would it be more controversial to say that it was a “stool on a planet” or a “chair on a Kuiper Belt Object?”) But I’m telling you that this could quickly become the deciding issue between the Democratic nominees.

Let’s say that Obama is in favor of Pluto reinstatement on the grounds that the decision was made without a significant public debate. After all, he fights for the people. Of course Hillary would have to oppose it in support of the establishment. The scientific community would get behind Hillary, since none of us wants to upset the covert organization that dictates all scientific decisions (have I said to much?). But what about the public? There may be a lot of residual sympathy for the little guy.

The fight would come to a crest when the candidates start comparing themselves to Pluto as the “underdog” Pluto’s a dog. Get it?

From there, the story could tangent off to anywhere. Is exclusion of Kuiper Belt objects akin to a prejudice? And if so, is it more like racism or sexism? If it’s more like a rock then a planet, was it intelligently designed? Should we subject all celestial bodies to some sort of standardized testing system? Should it be the next destination after the Chinese beat us to Mars? Most importantly, what does Oprah think?

I expect to see this discussion raging over the airwaves very soon. I would like to say “you’re welcome” to the Democratic Party for showing them the way to resolution.

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.

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