Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences From Heresy to Truth Over the course of the twentieth century scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth deep time continental drift meteorite impact and global warming When

  • Title: Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth
  • Author: James Lawrence Powell
  • ISBN: 9780231164481
  • Page: 464
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Over the course of the twentieth century, scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming When first suggested, each proposition violated scientific orthodoxy and was quickly denounced as scientific and sometimes religious heresy Nevertheless, after decades ofOver the course of the twentieth century, scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming When first suggested, each proposition violated scientific orthodoxy and was quickly denounced as scientific and sometimes religious heresy Nevertheless, after decades of rejection, scientists and many in the public grew to acknowledge the truth of each theory.The stories behind these four discoveries reflect than the fascinating push and pull of scientific work They reveal the provocative nature of science, which raises profound and uncomfortable truths as it advances For example, the Earth and the solar system are older than all of human existence the interactions among the moving plates and the continents they carry account for nearly all of the Earth s surface features and nearly every important feature of our solar system results from the chance collision of objects in space Most surprising of all, we have altered the climate of an entire planet and threaten the future of human civilization This absorbing scientific history is the only book to describe the evolution of these four ideas from heresy to truth, showing how science works in practice and how it inevitably corrects the mistakes of its practitioners Scientists can be wrong, but science can be trusted In the process, astonishing ideas are born and, over time, take root.

    • Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth by James Lawrence Powell
      464 James Lawrence Powell
    • thumbnail Title: Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth by James Lawrence Powell
      Posted by:James Lawrence Powell
      Published :2019-03-13T21:50:47+00:00

    About "James Lawrence Powell"

    1. James Lawrence Powell

      Dr James L Powell graduated from Berea College with a degree in Geology He holds a Ph.D in Geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and taught Geology at Oberlin College for over 20 years.He served as Acting President of Oberlin, President of Franklin and Marshall College, President of Reed College, President of the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, and President and Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.Powell currently serves as Executive Director of the National Physical Science Consortium Asteroid 1987 SH7 is named for him.

    857 thoughts on “Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth”

    1. The weight of evidenceIn the introduction, Powell tell us he was inspired to write this book when a friend, discussing the fact that the vast majority of scientists accept that the activities of man are contributing to global warming, remarked that scientists have been wrong before. Accepting the undeniable truth of that, Powell decided to look at the recent history of four important theories in earth sciences, showing that though scientists may have been wrong at first, they "eventually came to [...]


    2. Very good account of the historical development of four theories in the Earth sciences over the last ~200 years or so: 1) Deep Time--"our planet is billions of years old", 2) Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics--"continents and ocean floors move", 3) Meteorite Impact--"rocks as big as mountains fall from the sky", and 4) Global Warming--"humans are changing the climate" (Introduction, p. xv). Each "revolution" serves as a case study in how science works--how accepted ideas become the "consensu [...]


    3. ‘Four Revolutions in Earth Sciences’ concerns four key scientific concepts involving the earth; deep time (the geological age of the earth), continental drift (the action of tectonic plates), meteorite impact (associated with the mass extinction of the dinosaurs) and global warming. Although interesting science subjects in their own right, it is the scientific wrangling and politics associated with these concepts that form the core of the book’s narrative. It is also interesting that each [...]


    4. I don't have enough of a science background to read much "real" science, but I love reading science books that are geared to the general reader (me). James Lawrence Powell's Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences is just the kind of book I like. It's a quick history of four major issues in geology, astronomy, physics, and other fields related to earth science: the age of the earth; plate tectonics; meteorite impacts; and climate change. Setting these four discussions side by side in this way rea [...]


    5. Very very well-written and well-researched; but, I could not shrug the feeling that I was expending time on reading what was essentially very detailed trivia. Mainly, this is because past advancements are no longer relevant except to those who seek to get inspired. Secondarily, the underlying idea of the provisional nature of scientific knowledge is something I have already learned about, thus it was not exciting. I contend that the subtitle of this book bastardizes the author's entire project; [...]


    6. This is yet another book that should be read by a lot of people, but I suspect those to whom it would be most useful will never know it exists, and even if they did, they wouldn't bother reading it since they've already made up their minds. What makes this book so important, is that it examines in great detail how and why scientific theories become accepted, revealing the difficult struggles that occur for an idea to become mainstream. The common belief that science is a set of facts, that the p [...]


    7. Rating of 4.5. Excellent History of Four key ideas in geology. Covers the history, the science and current thinking. Very good notes and bibliography for those interested in pursuing any of the topics.


    8. A little too strident in the global warming section. Interesting stuff but not fascinating. Glad I read it but not sure I would recommend it to others. Kind of slow at times.


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