A couple of months ago, I gagged here on this blog over Caltech astronomers’ decision to name a newly discovered planet beyond Pluto (or maybe just an orbiting rock out there) “Sedna” after the Inuit goddess of the icy sea (See Planet PC, March 16). My beef wasn’t just that the scientists were breaking a millennia-old tradition of naming new planets in our solar system after classical gods and goddesses, not the deities of other cultures. It was that Sedna happens also to be the goddess (or one of the goddesses) of  professional man-haters. I wrote:

“It’s that self-consciously Third World, victimological baggage that Sedna, worshipped in Labrador before dead white European males took over the New World, carries with her that bothers me. Furthermore, Sedna has become a cult figure for legions of ‘Goddess’-worshippers among the radical feminists. Click here and here and here and here for some helpings of Goddess hoo-hah surrounding Sedna. According to Inuit mythology, Sedna had a cruel father who killed her when she refused to marry–just the sort of anti-‘patriarchal’ tale that the man-hating contingent loves. One goofy website, outoftheearth.com, states that Sedna is the goddess of ‘victims’–just what we need.”

This Sunday evening I’ll be airing those views–and more, I hope–live on the SETI Institute‘s syndicated radio progam, Are We Alone?, hosted by the institute’s senior astronomer Dr. Seth Shostak. (Check your AM listings at 10 p.m. EST.) My fellow guests will be Harvard astronomer and solar systems specialist Brian Marsden and Phil Plait, editor of the BadAstronomy website. Feel free to call in and let loose on the political-correctization of the study of the stars.