Science Says That Continents Can’t Move

Science says that continents can’t move, because Wegener had no credentials, and because many scientists can’t admit they were wrong.

Before his time – Wegener’s hypothesis moved ahead of confirming evidence too fast. Many previously unrelated observations were combined into a large theoretical jump. This is contrary to the normal progressive, step-by-step development of science.

Youthful outsider – Wegener was a man of many talents, but he had no formal training in geology. Thus, he had no credentials. At the same time, he had no preconceived position to defend or prove. At the beginning of the 20th century, no scientist was recognized until at least age 40; Wegener was in his early thirties when he first proposed continental drift.

Scientific inertia – Geology could not remake itself overnight. There was natural resistance to change, to accepting radical new ideas. Geologists had vested interests in their work and were reluctant to admit past misinterpretations of fundamental significance.

History of geology—Wegener

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11 Responses to Science Says That Continents Can’t Move

  1. inMAGICn says:

    Wegener met resistance for many reasons, even from those who admitted he had some pretty good arguments based on observation. The big hang-up was that no one, not even him could come up with a mechanism to move the continents around.

    And there it languished…

    • People who can’t explain the mechanism behind gravity should be perfectly safe jumping off a cliff. Nature really cares what people believe.

    • tom0mason says:

      Therein is the similarity to AGW ‘climate science’.
      The observed facts requires no explaination, no mechanism – it is what it is; and in real science it requires much careful measurements, observation and analysis. A mechanism to explain ‘the climate’ is not required at this stage – however careful and methodical measurement and rigorous record-keeping are required. Theory and hypothese can abound at this stage as the science is still in flux.

      That some in ‘climate science’ pretends to know the mechanism of how and why the climate changes, even as their own models’ figures do not match the observations, show they are in error. And their wilful hubris and protitution to ‘the cause’ prevents them from seeing it.

    • policycritic says:

      The Russians used Wegener’s discoveries to develop their abiotic oil theory in the early 50s, and that’s how they developed the Donetz-Dneiper Basin in the eastern Ukraine. Dr J F Kenney talked about this on Science Friday on NPR years ago to the disbelieving host:

  2. tom0mason says:

    Some believe Guam can move.

  3. Baa Humbug says:

    That’s just human nature.
    The problem we have with CAGW is that sceptics aren’t saying ‘they’re’ wrong, sceptics are saying ‘you’re’ correct, but your numbers are out.
    So that 5 years will be more like 50+ before the truth outs.

  4. gymnosperm says:

    Not to denigrate the analogy, but there is actually still no mechanism for the movement of continents. Einstein thought it was a crock because he hadn’t seen GPS evidence and could imagine no force to move the immovable objects. We now know they are moving but we have no idea why. Mantle convection is ruled out by seismic tomography. Continents have deeper roots than the “asthenosphere” they are supposed to be moving on. Another institutional science sacred cow ripe for slaughter.

    Best current hypothesis point to electromagnetic processes of some sort that may eventually lead to a unified theory of climate, tectonics, and magnetic reversals.

    • stewart pid says:

      Please provide a link to your “seismic tomography” nonsense … I call BS since I see no way seismic could prove or disprove anything about the continents drifting … seismic is simply totally the wrong tool for that type of study but I’m pretty sure I know why others would claim they can provide answers using seismic 😉

  5. plutarchspam says:

    Albert Einstein was 26 when he had his ‘miraculous year’ — 1905 — in which he published major papers on statistical mechanics, the photoelectric effect (which won him the Nobel prize) and special relativity. It was actually quite the reverse of what your source claims — _after_ 40, it was thought you were washed up. Einstein was one of many such young people lending observational support to the ‘best work before 40’ idea.

    Great source you have there.

  6. gregole says:

    If you are a tech person; scientist, researcher, engineer, professor, and anyone else in the business of being right or wrong about matters of fact, it is very difficult to admit you are wrong. (Car mechanic? Journalist? OK I’ll stop!)

    I know this. I am and have been a practicing engineer for 30+ years. I make mistakes – everyone does – mostly errors of omission in my case, and I always made a Herculean effort to never make them. But know what? It happens anyway.

    The best, most fool-proof way to catch those occasional blunders is to be checked – and checked by a team of people is best. And these people should inherently disagree with you and your work, and I mean disagree on some very basic level.

    What Steven refers to here as a “Red Review Team”. Their job? Tear your design / ideas / whatever/ to shreds. Not tear you to sheds! But your stuff has to stand up to the real-world.

    How something as allegedly earth-shatteringly important as Climate (so-called) Science gets a free-ride Red Team-wise is beyond me.

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