There are constants in this world we take for granted. 1+1=2. Area=length*width. A piece of toast, if dropped, will always land butter side down. Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. And the Yankees suck. All of my life, there have been nine planets. Nine. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus (heh, heh, he said Uranus) and Pluto. “What’s the largest planet? Jupiter.” “What’s the smallest? Pluto.” We all remember questions like this in elementary school when we learned all about our solar system. Now what do we do? How do I go about un-learning all that? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’ve been studying quantum theory for years and now just heard that Max Planck was actually wrong, which in turn essentially makes that whole realm of science a house of cards (look at me, the English major, oversimplifying a complex theory). But, when things we’ve come to appreciate as never-changing are suddenly altered on such a grand scale, it is likely to shake us down to our foundations. Or at the very least make us say, hmmmm.
Ok, it’s really not about me or my foundations. We need to think about the children! I know if I were going into the fourth grade and my teacher said to the class, “Last year, Pluto was a planet. This year? Yeah, not so much,” I might start being more suspicious of what these adults were telling me. “So, the sky is blue because of Rayleigh scattering, huh? Sure, ok. Maybe it’s just some guy with a really big paint brush, whaddaya think of that?” Yes, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I think you get my point. I just think we need to be more careful when we change what is generally accepted to be a fact. Next thing you know, they’ll tell us there’s no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy.