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Saturday, September 09, 2006

I Read Hawking and Gould So I'm a Philosopher

This is a letter to the editor in Thursday's USA Today, entitled "Fact over tradition." (Gene, you'll like this I think.)

Gene Kolnowski argues that Pluto should remain a planet because of "tradition." This misses the point entirely, regarding not only this controversy but also for science in general...

When Pluto was discovered in 1930, our knowledge of the composition of solar bodies was far less complete. As new information comes to light, it is necessary to modify our theories. If we were to continue to accept other disproven beliefs due to tradition, then other scientific discoveries--such as the heliocentric nature of star systems--would have to be discarded. For centuries, people believed the Earth was the center not only of the solar system, but also of the entire universe.

Science is that which is true. The scientific method is the means of discovering the truth. No matter how cherished or longstanding an incorrect belief, it must eventually give way to fact.

1 comment:

  1. "Science is that which is true."

    Apparently he's never seen LSE philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright's book, Why the Laws of Physics Lie.

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