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Surprising Science

Wrong Scientific Beliefs

Richard Thaler of the U of Chicago catalogs wrong scientific beliefs that were held for long periods of time, the flat earth and geocentric world among them.

Evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, Neil Shubin says: One wrong idea in my field was that the map of the earth was fixed…that the continents stayed in one place over time. This notion held despite the fact that anyone, including small children, could see that the coasts of Africa and South America (like many places) fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Evidence for moving continents piled up (fossils from different places, similar rocks…), but still there was strong resistance. Part of the problem is that nobody could imagine a mechanism for the continents to move about…did they raft like icebreakers through the ocean mushing the sea bottom as they did so? Nobody saw how this could possibly happen.


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