Science News article: Planets Abound: Astronomers Estimate That at Least 100 Billion Planets Populate the Galaxy
“There’s at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy — just our galaxy,” says John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech and coauthor of the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. “That’s mind-boggling.”
From Science News Article:
This article illustrates that the journey–and the scientific scenario–that Galileo helped kick off continues to this day. The scenario is as follows. When scientists put a device between themselves and that which is being observed it prompts an update in the models that make up a discipline of science.
Picture Published in article
In the case of this article, the new measurement device is Kepler space telescope. Being is space, the telescope changes the perspective of the observation. The output of the device has a clarity that earth-based telescopes do not have.
When scientists make new observations and change models, it can cause “definitional dissonance” to some people. I saw an example of this in interesting factoid in the book “A Little History of Science” by William Bynum. In addition to upsetting the worldview held by the Catholic church, there was an even more basic reaction to the telescope itself. William reported that people did not trust what was coming out of Galileo’s telescope.
They used denial as a means of alleviating their definitional dissonance.
But what this article illustrates the model of human behavior as “definers.” To view human knowledge without looking at all three elements–the observed, the observer, and the instruments used in the observation– one working with an incomplete model.
Understanding that this principle applies to two of human’s major efforts to understand the universe around us–science and religion–is vital when exploring the gap between the two.