Styles of Thought on the Continental Drift Debate
In this paper, we look at the history of events which finally led to the acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics. Interestingly, we normally attribute this theory to Alfred Wegener who published his theory of continental drift in 1912, however, there were multiple people who also published similar theories in the years just before him, and in fact, there is a long history of similar ideas having been published (the years of 1858, 1801, 1756, even 1596).
The popular retelling is that the discovery of paleomagnetism provided the final nail in the coffin that convinced all the skeptics to accept the truth of continental drift. The author of the paper refutes this version of the story with survey evidence, shows that many geologists were unaware of the newest literature, and that continental drift prevailed simply because the demographics changed.
it did not happen that fixists’ supporters saw the new evidence and surrendered to it. Evidence is never enough to change ways of thinking.
something changed the consensus among geologists as by the end of the 1970s, continental drift theory had a large number of adepts. Before 1961, only 22% of professional geologists surveyed accepted the continental drift theory; by 1977 that percentage was around 87% (Nitecki et al. 1978, 661).
Most likely, new generations of geologists, educated under the teaching of mobilists geologists, accepted the theory just by inheriting the mobilist style of thought.
Messeri shows that in the late 1960s the scientific community shifted, indeed, towards the acceptance of continental drift theory. But those who accepted the theory on those years were mainly young scientists [...]
It’s not that fixists changed their mind; instead, mobilists increased the number of young followers, probably by occupying university spaces.
Mobilists won by occupying positions of education and passing their ideas on to the new generations.
There's a number of other wonderful parallels in this paper, so I encourage others to read it. To me, the battle over plate tectonics teaches us a valuable lesson: If we want LENR to become mainstream, we need to get LENR into school curricula.
This finding came from my current project and I will be cementing this idea in video form. Through social media, I believe we can take our battle to the schools.