Pluto & Psychiatric Disorders & Apples & Oranges

A good comparison can be hard to come by. This new study offers a brand new comparison:

The Removal of Pluto from the Class of Planets and Homosexuality from the Class of Psychiatric Disorders: A Comparison,” Peter Zachar and Kenneth S Kendler [pictured here], Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, vol. 7, no. 1, 2012. The authors, at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical in Richmond, report:

“We compare astronomers’ removal of Pluto from the listing of planets and psychiatrists’ removal of homosexuality from the listing of mental disorders. Although the political maneuverings that emerged in both controversies are less than scientifically ideal, we argue that competition for “scientific authority” among competing groups is a normal part of scientific progress. In both cases, a complicated relationship between abstract constructs and evidence made the classification problem thorny.”

(Thanks to investigator Matt Walker for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: Scott Sandford‘s classic “A Comparison of Apples and Oranges

BONUS: Apples & Oranges & Comets