Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is Science About To Change As We Know It?

Many times in human history science has had to make revolutionary changes. What we thought we knew, becomes something completely different. We fight these changes. We do not like finding out we are wrong.

Galileo looked through the telescope and discovered the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Newton defined the "invisible force" that changed the way we viewed the Universe. Einstein wrote his theory of relativity and again we were forced to change the way we think of science.

We have also had many "bad" or "wrong" theories through out History. Not all new theories are wright, not all are wrong. Quite often, we do not recognize a theory as being wright until the originator of the theory is dead. Some new evidence comes along and the scientific community finally says, "Hey, wait a minute, this actually proves so and so to be wright." We may be living in one of those times when what we thought we knew, is not as it should be.

For the past 70 years or so we have had competing theories to explain why animals and plants on continents separated by hundreds of miles of ocean were so similar. Three centuries earlier Abraham Ortelius looked at a globe, he could see how the pieces south America and Africa fit together like puzzle pieces. Out of this observation Pangaea the super continent was born. Then we had to explain how this super continent broke apart.

One theory called Continental Drift and one called Earth Expansion tried to explain this. Continental drift first developed by Alfred Lothar Wegener. In Wegener's mind, the drifting of continents after the break-up of Pangaea explained not only the matching fossil occurrences but also the evidence of dramatic climate changes on some continents. Wegener's theory of Continental Drift was at first shunned by the scientific community. Continental drift was hotly debated off and on for decades following Wegener's death before it was largely dismissed as being eccentric, preposterous, and improbable. However, beginning in the 1950s, a wealth of new evidence emerged to revive the debate about Wegener's provocative ideas and their implications. The theory of continental drift would become the spark that ignited a new way of viewing the Earth. Eventually Plate Tectonics as we know it today became the accepted theory.

A second theory was called Earth Expansion, physicist Paul Dirac (1902-1984) suggested the Earth's gravitational constant had decreased in the billions of years of its existence. This led German physicist Pascual Jordan to a modification of general relativity and to propose in 1964 that all planets slowly expand. Samuel Warren Carey was an Australian geologist who was an early advocate of the theory of continental drift. His work on plate tectonics reconstructions led him to develop the theory of the expanding earth. Investigating "continental drift" on his own, Carey made a large globe on which he manipulated detailed models of the continents. Dissatisfied with his results, he eventually concluded that the continents fit together properly only on a globe that had once been smaller. With that core idea, many other details seemed to fall in place.

The primary differences between the two theories is the mechanism that explains the movements of the continents. Carey felt the earth was expanding, from an earth that was 50% smaller than todays earth. Plate Tectonics felt that the earth expanded and subducted to recycle the earths crust, therefore maintaining a constant size.

Today, we see the old theory of Earth Expansion updated with a new one called Earth Growth. This theory is primarily promoted by Neal Adams, and has a sub theory of Prime Matter as a method for the Earth and other planets to grow. His updated version of planetary growth could very well change science on many different levels. His theory appears to work on Mars, and several moons in our solar system, including our moon. If his theory proves to be correct, we will have to revise other theories including the "Big Bang" theory.

We also have a new theory presented and promoted by J Marvin Herndon called Whole Earth Decompression Dynamics. This theory says that the inner planets were once gas giants under extreme pressure until the Sun's solar flares striped the planets of the gas, and the inner planets then began to decompress. This theory merges the the "subduction" and "expansion" theories together. If proven correct, this theory will change the way we see solar system and planet formation.

As before in history these revolutionary theories are scoffed by the general scientific community. After all, rewriting text books is expensive. When will science learn to explore new theories with enthusiasm. They should be debated. Yet, the general scientific community ignores these theories. Science can be quick to view theories that explain something that does not yet have an explanation, and very slow to explore those that explain something they feel is already explained. Science is about observation, and change. Still scientist get stuck in what they were taught, and changing the mind of what should be open minded people, is a time consuming process.

In todays world of information, the average person can now be exposed to new ideas like never before. The average science enthusiast can explore and present theories that can change the way we view the universe. Perhaps this is a revolution in and of itself. With exposure, maybe, just maybe, we don't have to wait for great minds to pass away before we accept their ideas.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home