Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pluto, The Planets, Thomas Kuhn, and Apologetics

Cathy, a Biology major at Concordia University Wisconsin, and one of the smartest people I know just recently told me something interesting. Apparently, over the summer, scientists said that Pluto was not a planet. For years since the discovery of Pluto, most people have considered it a planet, however, according to Cathy, this was the first time they sat down and actually discussed what a planet was and what it was not.

Now, I as a layman am not convinced by the arguments against Pluto being a planet. However, that is not what I wish to address here. I do want to say that I find it really odd that people for many hundreds of years used the term "planet," but it didn't have any meaning. I think that what is really going on here is a shift in paradigms as described by Thomas Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Now, I need to be right upfront and say that I think Thomas Kuhn is wrong in his relativistic conclusions, but I think he has accurately described how scientific theories come and go.

Of course, we are already seeing what has happened in the scientific community as there have been fits of outrage from people who still hold the prevailing view that Pluto is indeed a planet, and it has been preceived as a scientific advancement by the other side to say that it is not. I am sure the next thing will be that those who still believe that Pluto is a planet will be marginalized, and will be considered unscientific.

Aside from dissuading people from thinking that science is a modern religion that should be followed, it should also point out that science divorced from a belief in God is something totally irrational. Without a creator who created the universe so that it has uniformity, laws of logic, and morality, science cannot exist. That is why I appriciate all of my Christian scientist friends, as they are doing science by looking to their creator.

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