Clyde Tombaugh: The need for pathos links to science.

This week we discussed the importance of Pluto, and thus the importance of Clyde Tombaugh to the American people. It shows a stark need for emotion to be attached to science. While there are incredible people who discover things from a desire to “know what lies beyond the mountains”, most people need an emotional attachment to express even the smallest amount of interest about the workings of the world we live in. The American people rallied behind the only American-discovered planet in our solar system, even though science determined that, although it was an incredible discovery, it did not meet the requirements of a planet agreed upon by the astrophysicist community. That shows the ability and desire of the public to attach themselves to a scientific discovery. It is a struggle to make the connection between the general public and the scientific community, especially when there has been a disregard for religious beliefs, backgrounds and social issues in order for the ‘truth’ of science to come to light. Creationists, underprivileged peoples (poor people who may think science is ‘beyond them’), and those that have been taken advantage of (Tuskegee Study, HeLa cells research) are all ways the scientific community has distanced itself from the everyday person. Now scientists all over the world are in damage-control mode, trying to prevent outbreaks of measles and other diseases that have been eradicated from our country for decades while simultaneously being called ‘quacks’ and being blamed for the rising numbers of autism, both of which have no argumentative foundation. However, with the proper scientists with good ‘people-skills’ in the public eye, they are slowly making progress. Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson top that list. They are in the public eye making science a little more appealing and fun. How many people watched “Cosmos”, which was narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and produced by Seth Macfarlane, creator of ‘Family Guy’? Sounds like science is making strides to bridge the gap, domestically at least, and we can only hope they continue the trend.

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
―Werner Heisenberg

-Jordan Wilcox


2 thoughts on “Clyde Tombaugh: The need for pathos links to science.

  1. I don’t know Jordan. You aren’t wrong about the need to connect to feel something but I honestly think people cared more about Pluto because of the dog than because of who discovered it. I honestly don’t believe most of the people who really cared were the ones who knew who discovered it. They just didn’t like that what they’d learned as kids had been changed and so it bugged them.
    – Matt McDaniel


  2. I really like the quote you ended with! One thing that tends to baffle me is that people truly feel that science is a godless wasteland, void of emotions and humanity. While this may be true for some scientists, I firmly believe science can be reconciled with our own personal beliefs! Because science seems so impersonal, we rely on hearsay and anecdotes to help us feel comfortable accepting some of the truths science lends us. While not many people knew who had discovered Pluto BEFORE its declassification, it still struck a chord with people who saw it as a symbol of childhood for many reasons.

    Kaylin Brodzki


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