Marshmallow Missiles

A commenter at Washington Monthly‘s “Political Animal” column made a mention of how Aristotle’s dictum that heavy objects fell faster than light objects was incorporated into Catholic doctrine, which provoked this response:

Actually heavy objects fall faster than light objects. It is only when they are placed in an artificial medium like a large evacuated tube that they fall at the same rate. That is why missiles are made of metal and not marshmallow, but any attack on old Aristotle will do, however silly, if it allows to pock a knife into the Catholic Church.

And you kind of just don’t know where to begin. It was Galileo, as the story goes, who disproved Aristotle’s thesis, not by building a vaccuum chamber but by dropping two differently-sized cannonballs off the Tower of Pisa. And there are ever so many reasons missiles aren’t made from marshmallow, not the least of which is the giant s’more on the launching pad you get when the engines kick in.

Science education in this country seems to have taken a turn for the Dark Ages.