Many moons ago, Pluto – the outermost planet in our solar system – was demoted. For those of us who grew up with the nine-planet solar system model, this came as somewhat of an affront to everything we knew about anything, ever. I mean, what is the meaning of life if the planetary status of Pluto can so easily be revised and revoked? Why, Neil, why??
In this hilarious video, Neil DeGrasse Tyson answers to the angry rants and raves (and insults) of those really strange people who were truly and deeply wounded by Pluto’s demotion from planetary status to mere space-wandering rock. Why people give such a damn is beyond me. After all, Pluto is only a quarter the size of our moon and even then, most of its mass is ice.
Video Source: Uploaded by National Geographic on YouTube channel https://youtu.be/eBREBAnglr
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a megamind and, not coincidentally, also curator of the Hayden Planetarium, as well as the presenter of Carl Sagan’s revised TV-series, “Cosmos” He is awesome and anyone who has watched any of his videos, lectures or presentations will appreciate just how erudite and smart this man is.
But by far one of Neil’s greatest talents is the perfect balance between a sophisticated understanding of science and the ability to communicate with those who don’t. This makes him one of today’s most powerful and persuasive public figures in science and technology.
10 thoughts on “Neil DeGrasse Tyson Answers Angry Tweets on Pluto's Demotion”
I think the name of your blog explains it perfectly -Why, because science. Science does not deal with absolutes. Some things we think we know today, we may think are incorrect tomorrow. Our understanding about the universe is fluid and ever changing, and Pluto is an issue about nomenclature, which is a purely artificial human construct. I still think its weird to imagine dinosaurs with feathers – but guess what?, now we know many of them had feathers! Pluto is Pluto no matter what we call it, name it, or classify it as. If the new label of Dwarf Planet helps us classify its features better, I’m ok with that.
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I’m glad to see you’ve come to terms with your childhood understanding of the solar system having been ripped out from under your feet 😉 I agree though… people are generally resistant to new ideas, which is why the heliocentric (sun centric) model of the universe took so damn long to go out of vogue.
I like your comment, but science (specifically the scientific method, which is distinct from scientific conclusions in that the latter indeed can be and has sometimes been wrong) is all about absolutes.
In addition to mathematical absolutes, pushing a wall always demonstrates the law of physics stating every action is an opposite and equal reaction, for example.
Distinction is subjective in terms of the expression, but not in terms of physical energy of the brain modulating to form that distinction.
Science’s greatest problem these days is the absence of any objective distinction, because distinction is obviously required in the pursuit of science.
Upon scientific scrutiny, the answer is to understand that observation itself is energy, so particles are not distinct, but energetic resonances with that observation (in energetic space, but I apologetically digress).
On a general level, the scientific community must understand that there’s a pseudo-objectivity equal to literally all human beings (but not necessarily all beings) only possibly honestly agreeing upon a conclusion. Pseudo-objectivity is valid science, as long as it recognizes the possibility of a deviating result outside of humanity’s perspective.
You totally lost me at the third paragraph. Science is about demonstrable absolutes, yes I get that. But then you start talking about distinction and everything goes hazy. Why? What? Eh? Sorry, I had a girl’s night last night, so my brain is super fuzzy this morning. Perhaps you can elucidate…?
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You distinguish a chair from the floor it’s on, for quick offhand example.
There’s nothing in quantum physics (or science in general) confirming that distinction is objective (i.e. nothing confirming the chair and floor are truly physically distinct).
Particle distinction is described by quantum physicists to be fuzzy, blurry, etc. — so not necessarily an objective distinction.
Your brain is basically mass (which is highly condensed energy, as basically confirmed by Einstein’s most famous equation). In other words, your brain is purely energetic.
Any distinction you form within your brain is physical energy.
You’re not the only one confused about any distinction being merely subjective.
It’s truly problematic in science, because objective distinction is assumed to exist ironically without scientific basis.
I scientifically confidently maintain particle/wave duality in quantum physics is wrong.
The double slit experiment is not really odd, when you consider that observation itself is energy that resonates with the observed (i.e. the wave without observation then becomes a seamless particle resonance — not distinct particle — upon observation, so still a wave, albeit a relatively sharply resonating one).
Observation causes a similar result at our common scale. Whatever you observe, for example, comes into focus (i.e. it resonates).
Treating distinction as subjective fundamentally changes science for the better, because literally everything falls into fundamental place, so it’s a critical scientific topic (that I’ve only begun reaching out for addressing by the scientific community).
If I’m right, then space is also energy, which dramatically changes the scientific view of space (e.g. dimensionality cannot be limited to four, 11, etc. dimensions, but stunningly energetically oceanic in literally all possible ways).
If I’m right, then there’s a good chance that I’ve authored the actual theory of everything — which I call Reality Waveform Theory (which anyone can freely read at my journal).
Thank you for your interest, and please keep the pressure on, if I’m still missing the mark.
While RWT is complete, I continue to refine it to ensure it says only one fully logical conclusion that basically anyone can understand upon sufficient study.
I have fun with RWT as an entertainer, but the humble challenge for the scientific community to debunk RWT is genuine.
It’s always the same with us humans. Divide everything into boxes and then argue over which box it goes into. I blame the age of reason. Why can’t we just call stuff in space “things”, in which case Pluto is a “thing”, Earth is another “thing” and Jupiter is a “very big thing, but only 1/10 the mass of the even bigger Sun thing”. I’m not sure where the M-31 thing or the Virgo Supercluster thing comes in on this system, but calling every space object a “thing” would stop a lot of arguments about what constitutes a planet, even if it was confusing for everything else.
Now imagine if we applied that theory to humankind! There would be no black, white, asian, hispanic, race this, ethnicity that… just people. There’s a song in there somewhere. I think John Lennon may already have wrote it.
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My astrological planet is no longer a planet, and while there may be energetic influence from cosmic positioning towards the youngest exercise of life (it’s all energy, based upon max application of the scientific method — not to mention eastern philosophy fwiw), I’m thankfully not devastated by the planetary hole left by updated definition (also fwiw — probably not much, if anything). Why am I posting this? I have no idea, but it could be due to the absence of former planetary influence. I’m astrologically lost (and my attempted humor is apparently cringeworthy), but hope is not equally lost (my final fwiw herein).
I had to Google the meaning of “fwiw” and now I can say that I learned something new today; I became an iota more hip, so thank you for that 🙂
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