DEVELOPMENT OF PLATE TECTONIC THEORY

THE HISTORY OF PLATE TECTONIC THEORY SHOWS HOW SCIENTIFIC THINKING EVOLVES

SCIENCE IS ORGANIZED AROUND THEORIES USED TO INTERPRET OBSERVATIONS, WHICH IN TURN INFLUENCE HOW WE VIEW THE WORLD

PROGRESS IN SCIENCE IS TYPICALLY INCREMENTAL DURING "NORMAL SCIENCE" PERIODS, IN WHICH WE MAKE SMALL STEADY ADVANCES

OCCASIONALLY, HOWEVER, MAJOR "PARADIGM SHIFTS " OCCUR WHEN IMPORTANT NEW IDEAS CHANGE OUR VIEWS FROM OUR PREVIOUS CONVENTIONAL THINKING AND PERMIT GREAT ADVANCES

THIS HAPPENS WHEN THERE ARE ENOUGH PROBLEMS WITH THE OLD IDEAS, AND ENOUGH DATA POINTING TOWARD NEW ONES, THAT PREVIOUS IDEAS HAVE TO BE DISCARDED AND REPLACED BY NEW ONES THAT RESOLVE THE PROBLEMS AND EXPLAIN THE DATA

THIS PROCESS OFTEN INVOLVES SPIRITED ARGUMENTS AND TAKES A LONG TIME

THE NEW PARADIGM THEN OFFERS DIFFERENT INSIGHTS AND LETS US "SEE" THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY

THE THEORY OF PLATE TECTONICS, WHICH WAS ACCEPTED IN THE LATE 1960'S, WAS SUCH A CONCEPTUAL REVOLUTION

OTHERS INCLUDE NEWTONIAN MECHANICS, QUANTUM MECHANICS, RELATIVITY, EVOLUTION, GENETICS, DNA AND HEREDITY...